Fair Saint Louis

Communications work for Fair Saint Louis 2014

Objective

With work underway on the transformation of the Gateway Arch grounds, the Fair Saint Louis Foundation made the decision to move the popular Fair Saint Louis celebration to Forest Park for Independence Day 2014. After 33 years on the Arch grounds, Fair organizers knew that there would be some communications challenges involved in making sure that fairgoers understood the celebration was in a new location this year and convincing them to come out and enjoy the new experience in Forest Park. To meet those challenges, the Foundation called on The Hauser Group to develop and implement its media relations and social media campaigns for 2014, and to coordinate with their selected design partner on the development of a new Website and all advertising creative for this year.

Strategy

We capitalized on the fact that the new location really afforded the Fair Saint Louis Foundation the opportunity to produce a Fair like Never Before, and our communication strategy was designed to spread that message, while reinforcing that there was a plan in place to get people to and from the Fair. The new website at www.fairsaintlouis.org launched at the outset of the campaign, quickly setting the tone. A series of press conferences were planned and executed to build awareness and excitement in the months leading up to the Fair. The initial announcement on April 8 revealed the majority of the headline entertainment and clearly demonstrated that the 2014 event was unmatched in terms of the number and caliber of acts that would perform. Subsequent press events were held to announce the addition of Circus Flora’s Flying Wallendas High Wire act and the Lake Saint Louis Water Ski Club’s Wake Challenge to this year’s lineup – both exciting new elements made possible by the new location overlooking the Grand Basin in Forest Park. The additions also provided an opportunity to further reinforce the move. With a history of traffic tie-ups associated with prior large scale events at Forest Park, the Foundation hired a transportation consultant to develop a plan to keep traffic moving, and much effort was devoted to sharing details of that plan through the media and also directly with nearby residents via a series of open houses. Press Day at the Den (the name affectionately given to the offices and warehouses serving the Foundation and the VP Parade), kicked off a week of intense coverage leading up to Independence day, with KTVI going live from the Den or Forest Park from 5 am until 9 am or later on June 30 and July 1, 3 and 4. Multiple interviews and segments also were coordinated with KMOV and KSDK, including extensive coverage on both Show Me St. Louis and Great Day Saint Louis. The Hauser Group also secured media partnerships with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Riverfront Times, Clear Channel Radio, CBS Radio and WIL-92 FM, resulting in considerable additional exposure for the Fair; and we collaborated with KMOV-TV, the broadcast partner for the VP Parade and the Fair, on the development of a series of TV spots to promote the Fair.

Results

Extensive positive media coverage was secured leading up to the Fair, helping to ensure that people knew Fair Saint Louis was in Forest Park this year and enticing them to come out for the event. The advance publicity paired with incredible weather led to attendance that surpassed all expectations, as an estimated 75,000 attendees turned out for the opening festivities on July 3. The traffic plan worked exactly as intended so that the park and surrounding streets cleared quickly at the end of each night, and the news coverage of how smoothly things went convinced even more people to celebrate Independence Day at Fair Saint Louis, with an estimated 100,000 people coming out for the festivities on July 4. Attendance of approximately 75,000 on July 5 pushed the total for the celebration to an impressive 250,000 for the three days of the Fair. In all, Fair Saint Louis 2014 received news and feature coverage with a publicity value in excess of $2.5 million.  In addition, we have increased the number of both Facebook fans and Twitter followers by 20 percent, as we’ve better incorporated those channels into the marketing mix for Fair Saint Louis. Public and media feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, helping to ensure that Fair Saint Louis 2014 will be remembered for years to come as a Fair like Never Before.

« BACK TO WORK