Blasting Off With Houston For The 50th Anniversary Of The First Moon Landing
Fifty years ago, Houston etched its place in history as the epicenter for innovation when Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon and stated “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” The creative PR teams at Visit Houston and TURNER recognized there was an opportunity to develop an out-of-this-world integrated campaign (with a thoroughly down-to-earth budget) for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.
The resulting campaign won the industry’s most prestigious award, Public Relations Society of America’s 2020 “Best Of” Silver Anvil, which represents the “pinnacle of excellence in public relations programming and demonstrates public relations’ strategic value and ability to drive critical business outcomes.”
The Nuts & Bolts
Like the moon landing itself, the campaign required precision, planning and partnerships.
- Proactive Outreach: TURNER created a steady stream of news. “Where to Go” lists were pitched 15+ months prior; 60+ partners committed to space-themed offerings /events 7 months in advance. National broadcast was secured through never-done-before visuals and expert sources.
- Brand Partner: With United Airlines, we created a buzz-worthy flight (EWR-IAH) that included astronauts, passenger gifts & in-flight giveaway (with media onboard).
- Pop-Up Activations: We supported Space Center Houston in securing family travel media for a pop-up experience in New York on July 16 (the day of the moon launch in 1969) at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
- Press Trip: We secured 17 top media for inspired and innovation tracks. Exclusive experiences (i.e. behind-the-scenes at NASA JSC) created compelling reasons to visit and afforded evergreen story ideas.
- Social & SEO Amplification: We provided input for a dedicated Space City microsite, which served as a one-stop resource (for visitors and media) for all aggregated content. The microsite also introduced the official event mascot, Spacey Casey—a character with a passion for two things: space and Houston.
- Word-Of-Mouth: During a NYC Takeover, we seeded the team and Spacey Casey in morning show audiences (resulting in shout-out from Meghan McCain at The View!); Spacey Casey pop-up at Ink! Global publishing.
The campaign exceeded goals and saw an impressive ROI. Space City saw a year-over-year (YOY) increase in July 2019 visitation; hotels had gains in occupancy, demand and revenue and attractions, such as Space Center Houston saw huge leaps in attendance.
Spacey Casey was a hit as well, earning 4.25 million video views and a high engagement rate, boosting Visit Houston’s social channels considerably. Paid ads exceeded goals at 98 million impressions, while earned media included more than 700 articles, including 15 “Where to Go in 2019” lists, resulting in an excess of three billion impressions.
At least seven national broadcast crews were on-location in Houston (e.g. TODAY Show and Good Morning America). The Good Morning America remote in Houston valued at an equivalent of more than $7.5 million AVE alone (a 1,610 percent increase in value over our $415K investment). The destination received nearly nine hours of on-air exposure, including 1.5 hours on national shows – all without sponsoring any production fees.