By Scott Carr, 2017-18 governor of District 5340
We enjoy serving as the host district for Rotary’s annual training event of incoming district governors here in San Diego, California, and are honored to provide volunteers to help with transportation, serve as hospitality night hosts, and greet arriving leaders at the airport. It is an important role. When you’ve been flying in a cramped airplane for 20 hours or more, there is no better sight than a smiling Rotarian to greet you and help you get to your destination.
But airport restrictions limit our reach as greeters. So we had the spark of an idea. What if we could build upon the on-site Rotary presence and roll-out a Rotary welcome as soon as members stepped off the plane?
Our People of Action campaign at the San Diego International Airport ran from 10-24 January. Our district negotiated with the on-site advertising distributor to run 10 second video clips at 20 different locations throughout the terminals. In addition, the People of Action campaign included seven enormous 6 foot by 6 foot backlit ads that were very tough to miss.
Once the campaign went live, we launched a social media campaign to help raise visibility of the ads. All told, we spent about $700 in Facebook advertising to encourage people to look for the ads at the airport. We were able to make it fun and engaging, while also providing weather, San Diego insider knowledge, and real-time updates from International Assembly.
Keep in mind, not everyone takes a plane to the assembly. For those traveling by land, we spent about $300 in advertising on Waze, a popular app that provides driving directions. Every time someone drove close to one of our local Rotary clubs on their way to International Assembly (or anywhere else in San Diego), they would see a Rotary logo appear, and be able to click on it for more information on that club.
In the end, this year’s assembly was a huge success, and the results of our campaign exceeded our wildest expectations.
People of Action was seen by nearly 800,000 travelers at the airport. We heard wonderful feedback on how impressed Rotarians were to see Rotary branding at a major U.S. airport. On social media, over the same two-week period, our $700 investment in Facebook ads reached over 199,000 social media users, while boosting the District’s audience from 305 “likes” to over 32,000. And our $300 Waze campaign was seen over 325,000 times, resulting in 597 visits to local Rotary club websites.
Putting together this campaign, using traditional, video, and digital ads, was a unique opportunity for us to work with the team that created the People of Action campaign at Rotary’s headquarters. We were incredibly grateful for their help and financial support in turning this spark of an idea into reality. Best of all, we expect the benefit of this branding locally, as well as the enormous increase in our audience on social media, to pay off significantly in the years ahead and help us continue making a difference.
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