Clever and extremely successful tourism social media marketing campaign fronted by VisitDallas to coincide with the Super Bowl XLV.
Designed and implemented by Vancouver-based Think Social Media, raising awareness of grid iron's biggest game of the season was as important as highlighting what else visitors could do in the Dallas area (the game takes place in Arlington, about 20 miles outside the city) ahead of the game.
But with all the pre-Super Bowl noise, surely such a task is nigh on impossible?
Think Social Media came up with the following idea:
Arguably the people most interested in the 2011 Super Bowl are the residents of Green Bay and Pittsburgh, where this year's finalists Packers and Steelers respectively call home.
So, why not get them involved in a competition to win tickets, hotel stay, spending money, etc.
A "mystery man" was planted in each city and the first person to locate the person and relay the message "Have you been to Dallas recently" won the prize.
The game was promoted on the VisitDallas Facebook page and organiser's enlisted the help of well known grid iron bloggers in each city to help share clues.
Think Social Media's chief strategist William Bakker says:
"The clues tied in to imagery and facts about attractions in Dallas and became increasingly specific as the weekend went on. By printing the clues on photos they were easy to share through Twitter, and were eye-catching on the blogs and Facebook."
Given the push by prominent bloggers in each city, general excitement about the Super Bowl, viral nature of people talking about it on Twitter and Facebook and the quirky nature of the campaign, Mystery Man became a hit almost overnight.
Bakker says the VisitDallas Facebook page found itself with 10,000 extra fans within three days, 100,000 hits and around half a million news impressions on Facebook member news feeds.
But then the mainstream media caught on - initially local news TV stations began featuring the search for the Mystery Man and, finally, CNN and others realised that there was a fascinating and fun side story taking place in the lead up to the game... every time mentioning Dallas.
"We definitely succeeded in getting people talking about Dallas. We also proved that when you run a social media campaign within passionate communities, you don’t need a big media budget. And, if the community is passionate enough, you’ll even make it on the news."
VisitDallas will no doubt be delighted, too...
NB: Worth mentioning that both Mystery Men were found!
NB: Read Bakker's blog post for more details about the campaign.