The Louisiana Office of Tourism (LOT) is the destination marketing organization for the state of Louisiana. It is charged with the sales, marketing and promotion of the state as a travel destination for potential visitors, both domestic and international. LOT’s objective is to increase the number of visitors annually, enhance visitor experiences, generate and increase annual visitor spending resulting in greater tax revenues for local and state government and increase tourism employment for all areas of the state. In 2018, LOT wished to create buzz around the city of New Orleans by introducing Mardi Gras to 4 major regional markets.
With an incredible bounty of food, music, history and culture, Louisiana can feed one’s soul like no other state. Though many people often think of New Orleans, the French Quarter and Fat Tuesday when they think of Louisiana, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism wanted to show off the many assets the entire state of Louisiana has to offer. The brand launch coincided with Mardi Gras or "Fat Tuesday” which signifies the last day before Lenten season. Louisiana is a place where you can “Feed Your Soul” in any number of ways including its world-renowned cuisine, indigenous music or unique culture.
The “Louisiana: Feed Your Soul” strategy sought to target travelers who are in constant pursuit of enjoyment by showing them how easy that is to attain in Louisiana – and how it can be found in so many different forms. The brand's key takeaway is that Louisiana is not just for spectators, but rather active participants who truly want to feed their soul - those who do not want to only live in the moment but BE the moment.
Gambel Communications collaborated with Louisiana Office of Tourism to roll out the campaign on Mardi Gras Day 2018 in a big way, with branded “Louisiana: Feed Your Soul” food trucks serving a taste of Louisiana in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas and Washington, D.C. The food trucks were to hand out king cake, beads and cups to promote the new brand while creating a unique, memorable and high-profile experience for the general public in these markets and for the media.
To bring attention to the brand launch, the Gambel team reached out to secure major media coverage including articles and interviews in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and The Washington Post. Additionally, in order to generate media interest in the key markets, Gambel Communications coordinated media drops to news stations, radio stations and print newsrooms located in each of the four major cities. Each media drop contained a king cake from local bakery, Haydel’s. Enclosed in the box was a scroll outlining the history of New Orleans Mardi Gras, beads and a press release informing the media of the food truck arrivals on Mardi Gras Day. Gambel Communications also employed the use of customized media alerts to each of the four markets. Finally, to leverage the national reach for Louisiana Office of Tourism, Gambel Communications wrote and sent a press release to be distributed via PR NEWSWIRE in addition to their own organic media outreach.
Following the momentum created by the king cake deliveries, Gambel Communications continued its media outreach leading up to Fat Tuesday by coordinating interviews with local television stations, influencers and print reporters. Outreach efforts also included the implementation of a call center involving Gambel’s complete staff placing follow up calls to media on Lundi Gras, to ensure coverage in the key markets.
“Feed Your Soul” events garnered significant media coverage all day in all four markets, as well as Louisiana. The objective of the project was exceeded, and each of the communications objectives were achieved. Nearly 2.2 million brand impressions and 118 million were reached through earned media. The press release even appeared in Times Square in the heart of New York City. In each target market, Gambel Communications coordinated and booked at least three media interviews, as well as interviews across Louisiana. Gambel Communications also secured several interviews with Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and coverage of him handing out king cake and assisting tourism volunteers in promoting Louisiana and the new brand in Washington, D.C.
Media highlights include:
Feature coverage of the event by The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Television coverage in all four regions by local TV stations.
Live on-site coverage on local TV morning shows in DC and Houston, which also posted the story on its social media feed, garnering significant engagement.
Significant social media coverage from micro and mega-influencers, which extended traditional earned media coverage.
Recognition of the project’s success from the Lieutenant Governor in an editorial letter published in the Beauregard Daily News on March 13, 2018.