Real-Life Penguins Complete Summer “Internship” at Our Westminster Distribution Center

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This summer, our distribution center in Westminster, MD had the pleasure of welcoming two real-life penguins and filming their (safely monitored) adventures as part of a video project spearheaded by the Consumer Marketing Video team. The concept: A penguin’s internship at Penguin Random House.

It’s been a long time in the making.

“We were originally thinking of bringing penguins to our New York office, since our team is based here, and releasing it in time for World Penguin Day back in April,” said John Clinton, VP and Director of Digital Video. “But we quickly ran into two issues: 1) Ironically, penguins are not allowed in the building, 2) Do penguin actors even exist? If so, where could we possibly find them?’”

Research ensued, and an answer emerged—The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore maintains the largest colony of African penguins in North America, and has a small group of “penguin ambassadors” that travel outside of the zoo for school, media, and educational appearances.

“Putting this together at the PRH distribution center seemed like a natural fit—not only had we worked with the fantastic team in Westminster before, but the zoo was also only a short drive away,” Clinton said. “We pitched the idea to both groups and they loved it.”

From there, it was a coordinated effort between the video team, the Consumer Marketing Engagement team, the distribution center, corporate communications, the legal department, and the zoo.

“Penguin safety really was the number one concern in the planning of this. Probably twenty people had to sign off on the shot list,” Clinton added.

As part of the collaboration, Penguin Random House is making a charitable donation to the zoo’s conservation efforts to protect African penguin habitats. The team is also encouraging anyone else who is moved to contribute to do so at https://www.marylandzoo.org/donate

“They’re amazing animals, and an endangered species! My hope for the video is trifold—1) Showcase our distribution center and the PRH brand 2) Raise penguin awareness, and 3) Bring some fun to our readers,” Clinton said.

For personal posting, please use the hashtag #TeamPRH

Thanks to all of PRH Westminster (especially Annette and Erin!), the video production team (Charlotte, Jonathan, Sophie, Pat, Richard), the social team (Natasha and Rachel), corporate communications (Claire, Stuart, Christine, Alex), Min in legal, and many, many others for making it happen!


Posted: September 19, 2019