Kentucky’s fall football campaign asks a simple question: “If you’re going to Kentucky to see your team play, why not explore some while you’re there?”
While most travelers visit Kentucky for its obvious attractions, the state has more than just bourbon and horses. The Kentucky Department of Tourism wanted to spread awareness of Kentucky’s many other features and encourage road trip travelers to explore more stops, restaurants and nature experiences along their way. And because Kentucky has a thriving college football scene with plenty of rival teams visiting from nearby states, Aristotle and the Kentucky Department of Tourism decided to focus on college football fans road tripping to see their teams play.
—To raise awareness of Kentucky as a fun road trip destination for football lovers in the SEC states.
—To drive traffic to the landing pages, offering fun football road trip ideas.
—To engage visitors and get them to explore the content further.
—To generate social engagement on Facebook among football fans.
—To inspire football fans to visit the state of Kentucky for these games or in future months.
The strategy was to target and engage college football fans in contiguous states with upcoming games against Kentucky, show them fun road trip ideas along the way and give them reasons to stay a bit longer. The campaign was about creating lifelong memories with family and friends around the teams that they love and the ones they love to hate.
Audiences included football fans of opposing teams with upcoming games in Kentucky:
- Mizzou in Missouri
- Volunteers in Tennessee
- Ole Miss in Mississippi
- UVA in Virginia
We focused on two core audience personas:
- Hardcore road tripping, tailgating fans that never miss a game and probably wore their team’s jersey instead of a suit on their wedding day. Likely to be men ages 25-54 that will be traveling with at least one other buddy. These guys were looking for a good time they could brag about later.
- Parents/grandparents wanting to bond with their children/grandchildren over the team and game they love. Their travel is very much centered on inspiring their children, creating a legacy and reliving the nostalgia of making the same types of trips when they were kids. These people were looking for a memorable time that everyone can talk and laugh about during family dinners on the holidays.
Aristotle developed and executed the Kentucky “Show Your Colors” Fall Football campaign with a suite of creative assets and website content.
Aristotle created four distinct team-focused sets of banner ads (both static and animated) to inspire fans to explore the content further. These ads clicked through to four team-focused landing pages inviting fans to “Show Your Colors,” along with interactive road trip map features to let fans choose their routes and plan their extended trips.
We wanted their time in Kentucky to be awesome even if their teams didn’t win, and we wanted to convey that with tongue-in-cheek humor…a mixture of Kentucky Southern hospitality and sass. “You won’t root for Kentucky,” the landing pages admitted, “But you can explore it.” We calculated custom routes from the fans’ states to the cities where each game was being played and created attractive descriptions for each suggested stop, including links to Google Maps for easy navigation and links to the full database entry for each attraction on KentuckyTourism.com.
Aristotle ran social ads in Facebook, text ads in Google search and banner ads in Google Display and Quantcast, geo-targeting the states of the visiting teams at least 1-2 weeks before game day, giving the travelers plenty of time to think about new destinations and add them to their itineraries.
Channels & networks:
- Google Search
- Facebook Advertising
- Quantcast Programmatic Display
- Google Display – Contextual Keyword Targeting
- Google Display – Topic Targeting
- Google Display – Select Placements
- Google Display – Retargeting
- Organic Search
- Referral Links
- Direct Traffic
- Google Analytics to measure engagement through time on site and exit links to deeper content.
- Arrivalist pixels to track actual visitations to the state of Kentucky during the campaign period and 8.5 weeks to follow.
11.4M Ad Impressions
To raise awareness of Kentucky as a fun road trip destination for football lovers
30.3K Landing Page Visitor Sessions
To drive traffic to the landing pages, offering fun football road trip ideas.
1.5K Landing Page Engagements
To engage visitors and get them to explore the content further.
10.7K Facebook Engagements
To generate social engagement on Facebook among football fans.
181 Arrivals in Kentucky*
To inspire football fans to visit the state of Kentucky for these games or in future months.
- The campaign generated 216 arrivals in the state of Kentucky, and 41% of all arrivals occurred after the media campaign ended.
- Tennessee was the best region to target with the highest volume of arrivals. These Tennessee arrivals came significantly sooner after first exposure to media than other regions/states.
- Quantcast Programmatic was more efficient at identifying travel interest than Google based on the Arrivalist APM metric (arrivals per thousand ad impressions).
- The campaign successfully boosted engagement and visitation from geographical areas that have not traditionally been hotspots for owned media visitation, such as Memphis and Washington DC.
Given a huge challenge to target a specific audience of football fans in each of four the states with unique content to inspire road trip adventures, we delivered results beyond our wildest expectations. In addition to generating massive brand awareness, website visitation, landing page engagement and social engagement, we also brought 216 arrivals to the state of Kentucky. Plus, we branded Kentucky as a fun road trip destination for football lovers and family travelers alike, which is sure to resonate with a wider audience to inspire future visitations.
Campaign Landing Pages
Banner Ads Examples
Click to Play
Google Search Ads
* Arrivalist data using first pixel attribution modeling to avoid taking credit for arrivals from other brand exposures. Arrivalist attributed arrivals in Kentucky to the first pixel a device was exposed to during the campaign period with continued tracking through January 3, 2018. If a device was first exposed to a Show Your Colors ad and then arrived in Kentucky, the campaign received credit. If a device first visited the Kentucky website and then arrived in Kentucky, the website received credit. Observing behaviors of people exposed to both paid and owned media helps us understand the Kentucky vacationer profile.