May 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Ohkay Casino Gets Some Ink

Ohkay Casino got some earned media when its general manager put out a news release offering a job to foirmer NY Jets quarterback Tim Tebow

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“I don't care what they say about me, just make sure they spell my name right!”  - P.T. Barnum

In the “old” days of public relations it was called “free press” but later it was called “earned media.”  Many a corporation pays big bucks to public relations professionals to get favorable stories in the media.  Ohkay Casino, located just north of Espanola, got some earned media when its general manager put out a news release offering a job to Tim Tebow, former New York Jets quarterback.  Tebow, who had just been released by the Jets, was in the news and the timing was perfect, resulting in stories on KOB-TV and other local media and even in the Wall Street Journal.

Here are the first couple of paragraphs of the release:

There is a job waiting for Tim Tebow in the Southwest and it is his for the asking.  Ohkay Hotel Casino, situated on the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo just outside of  Santa Fe, New Mexico, has offered the NFL star a position on their team in the newly created role of CWO or “Chief Winning Officer.” The casino hotel has reached out to Mr. Tebow’s management at William Morris Endeavor in an attempt to negotiate a deal.

“We believe Tim could make a fantastic contribution to the Ohkay Casino management team,” remarked Steve Penhall, Ohkay Casino general manager.   “Tim has a fantastic attitude and work ethic, he is charismatic and driven to win.  Most importantly though, is admired by our guests and people the world over.  Tim likes to win and our guests like to win. Those are the qualities we need here, and we believe Tim can fill this role nicely.”

Did this free publicity result in a massive increase business at Ohkay Casino?  Unlikely, but in a world where companies are looking for media impressions---the number of people who may have seen an article, heard something on the radio or in a podcast, watched something on television, or read something on a web page or blog---Ohkay hit a homerun because the impressions did not cost anything.  And, they had fun doing it.  Good job.  Oh, and by the way, Tebow did not take them up on their offer.

On another front, a spokesperson for the Fort Sill Apache Tribe contacted me and asked that I clarify some information posted on this blog regarding the possibility of a casino being located between Las Cruces and Deming.

“I work with the Fort Sill Apache Tribe and I wanted to address some historical/factual errors in your post,” Rachel Comer said in her message to me. “The story suggests that the Fort Sill Apache Tribe does not have a reservation in New Mexico and that we only claim to be the ancestors of Geronimo.”

“However, the Fort Sill Apache Tribe is the federally recognized legal successor to the Chiricahua/Warm Springs Apache Tribe (and Geronimo), “ she said.  “Further, the federal government has ruled that the Fort Sill Apache once thrived on 14 million acres in southwestern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona and northern Mexico.”

She added that in 2011 the U.S. Department of the Interior granted the tribe its first and only reservation, a 30-acre parcel of land in Akela, New Mexico.

“It is on this reservation that we plan to open a casino, which will generate funds to bring tribal members home and stimulate the economic development of the surrounding communities,” she said.

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