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Pitching a retail CEO to Undercover Boss

Posted by Axia Public Relations

Shoppers World                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Shoppers World's CEO wanted to be on "Undercover Boss." To do that, he needed expert guidance for a public relations firm to help with the pitch, casting, and services to promote him on the episode. This campaign pitched secured news coverage, and managed Shoppers World’s social media during the live broadcast. As a result, millions of U.S. consumers watched the live episode and social media engagement went viral.

The business challenge

Shoppers World, a family-owned discount department store chain, with 40 stores in 11 states and desired to expand to 500 stores nationwide. To develop the best insight, CEO Sam Dushey decided to gain firsthand experience by working firsthand in the store aisles with local store employees – without being recognized. Dushey needed expert guidance for the "Undercover Boss" casting, filming, and media process.


The solution

This multifold campaign initially pitched Dushey to "Undercover Boss." Once the producers selected him, Axia then developed a plan to pitch the retail industry trade, business, entertainment, and local media in cities where Dushey went undercover, so that he could share his experiences and insights. The campaign also secured additional news media coverage to tell Dushey's story of going undercover and the episode’s premiere. Throughout the broadcast, Axia managed Shoppers World’s social media accounts and created an "Undercover Boss" specific Pinterest board.


The results

More than 8 million viewers nationwide watched the episode air live on CBS. Before, during, and after the episode premiere, the media was buzzing: 

  • Dozens of news articles published and TV mentions reaching millions of consumers nationwide
  • X (previously Twitter) engagement took off under #ShoppersWorld and #UndercoverBoss.
  • Celebrities chimed in on social media. Larry King posted about the "Undercover Boss" episode to his followers, and Montel Williams engaged with Shoppers World through a series of posts.


Earned Media:





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Topics: consumer goods, medium companies, private companies, retail, Undercover Boss

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