July 17 of 2012 was not a particularly cool day for most Americans, given the heat still scorching many parts of the U.S. But it was certainly “cool” for Carrier, as it celebrated the 110th anniversary of its founder Willis H. Carrier’s invention of the air conditioner.
This project was a special one for the CooperKatz team, given our prior involvement in the history of this ground-breaking innovation. Ten years ago, CooperKatz worked with Carrier to help spread the word about the 100th anniversary, as well as raise the stature of Willis Carrier as a significant – and too often unsung – hero of American invention. So 10 years down the road, all of us at CK were determined this year to make the 110th an equally special occasion.
We kicked off the anniversary with coverage of Willis Carrier’s invention in a variety of national news outlets, starting with the New York Times ‘CityRoom’ blog on July 16. This was followed by a major piece in the New York Times print edition City section on July 17, and a CBS This Morning segment featuring historian Eric Schultz – who toured the original building in Brooklyn, NY, where Carrier worked to remove humidity from the air of the Sackett & Wilhelms printing factory so the printers would function properly. It was from this intuitive leap that air conditioning as we know it was born.
The Weather Channel mentioned Willis Carrier and air conditioning on four separate occasions and meteorologists across the country talked about how Carrier’s invention made their studios cool, and therefore, their jobs possible.
In the evening, NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams also highlighted the historic Brooklyn site and called the air conditioner a “product that changed our lives forever.” Like much of the coverage, the NBC piece cited the huge array of industries and day-to-day tasks that this invention has enabled..
For a media project like this, national outlets are important. But so is going local. Our team divided and conquered on a variety of media targets across more than 35 major markets across the United States. Chief Sustainability Officer at Carrier, John Mandyck, spoke with radio stations in numerous cities including Boston, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Seattle and more. And as temperatures continued to soar, coverage popped up all over the country. Many of these pieces discussed local “firsts” – such as the first air-conditioned home in Minneapolis, MN, and the first air-conditioned bank (Frost National) in San Antonio, TX.
Coverage of the anniversary certainly heated up both on and after the anniversary, and there’s no doubt that our work with Carrier has been among our “coolest” projects at CK.