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Lansing-based Big Splash PR wins gold and silver awards

Marketing Over the Tavern and White Christmas earns recognition from Publicity Club of Chicago

by Melanie Jongsma

Above: Carolyn Jacobs (left) and Pat Kremer, partners in Lansing-based Big Splash PR, were honored with Gold and Silver Trumpet Awards. (Photo provided)

CHICAGO, Ill. (September 12, 2020) – Big Splash Public Relations, located in Lansing, Illinois, has won both a Golden Trumpet Award and a Silver Trumpet Award at the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Annual Awards Celebration held September 10. The event, usually held in the Ballroom of the Chicago Palmer House, was held virtually for the first time in its history due to COVID-19.

The awards recognize “excellence in media relations” for two professional productions at Theatre at the Center in Munster, Indiana, during the 2019 season.

“Shopping Around for a Fun Religion,” the winning entry for a Golden Trumpet Award, celebrated the successful PR campaign surrounding Theatre at the Center’s production of Over the Tavern. (See Over the Tavern brings religion, family, and laughs to Theatre at the Center, posted July 30, 2019.)

“The area’s Catholic community was key to making Over the Tavern a huge success,” said Pat Kremer, co-owner of Big Splash with Carolyn Jacobs. Actress Janet Ulrich Brooks received a Joseph Jefferson nomination for her performance as the formidable Sister Clarissa, and Kremer believes that focusing on that character paid off as part of the PR strategy.

A photo shoot held at St. Ann’s Grade School in Lansing—and covered exclusively by The Lansing Journal—kicked off the public relations campaign. (See St. Ann Catholic School hosts photo shoot for Theatre at the Center, posted May 30, 2019.) The location was chosen because it had the look and feel of a sixth-grade classroom in 1959, the setting depicted in Over the Tavern, and images captured by local photographer Guy Rhodes were used throughout the campaign.

An authentic 1950s teacher’s desk was dressed with props from the St. Ann office as well as TATC’s prop room. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Photographer Guy Rhodes shows a shot to Creative Director Linda Fortunato, Graphic Designer Carolyn Jacobs, and Costume Designer Brenda Winstead. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Pat Kremer and Carolyn Jacobs enlisted pastors of Catholic churches throughout the area to serve as ambassadors and influencers who spread the news about the play with mentions in weekly church bulletins. Local area businesses, including stores in downtown Lansing, displayed posters. And large church carnivals, Bingo events, and summer festivals that coincided with the timing of the play offered ticket giveaways.

The Publicity Club also honored the work of Big Splash with a Silver Trumpet Award to recognize their success in promoting Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Theatre at the Center’s 2019 holiday musical production. The team broke a 30-year record in ticket sales, with final box office sales of 13,073 tickets, including subscriptions, group sales, and individual tickets.

Big Splash PR used promotional posters, flyers, and ads to achieve record-breaking ticket sales for White Christmas in 2019.

More information about Kremer, Jacobs, and Big Splash PR is available by contacting them directly at their Lansing, Illinois, headquarters:

About Big Splash PR

Prior to starting Big Splash Public Relations in 2007, Pat Kremer and Carolyn Jacobs worked for 12 years at Chicago’s Field Museum, where they garnered national and international media coverage for projects such as Sue the Dinosaur, King Tut, Jacqueline Kennedy, Cleopatra, Cartier, and The Art of the Motorcycle. Today they help companies make a “big splash” even with a small budget, by setting up partnerships with local and national businesses, tapping into timely promotional opportunities, and synchronizing paid advertising campaigns. Their insightful strategy and hard work have proven to maximize the overall impact of a PR campaign, and measurable results demonstrate a profile of integrated marketing at its best.

About the Publicity Club of Chicago

Founded in 1941, the Publicity Club of Chicago is celebrating its 79th year as the largest independent, membership-based public relations organization in North America. This year also marks the 61st anniversary of the Golden Trumpet Awards competition, the Premier Awards Competition for Chicago’s PR and Communications Professionals. During its illustrious history, PCC’s goal has remained the same: to elevate the profession of public relations in Chicago and the Midwest.

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. Congratulations to both of you. Your hard work has paid off and I do know that you enjoy what you are doing, which is a great part of any successful business. Keep it up. You are truly an inspiration to many others trying to make it big.

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