case study

Arizona Office of Tourism’s Target Cities Campaign – Chicago

Off Madison Ave

Executive Summary

Off Madison Ave was tapped by the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) to carry out a fully integrated campaign that encouraged residents of a target city, Chicago, to visit Arizona. Three objectives were created to secure the highest reach: maximize the paid media investment through public relations, reinforce the message through social media and in-person visitors and encourage people to visit or use the hashtag #WarmUpinAZ. After much research and planning, the agency chose to roll out the campaign in January, during a time of heavy winter weather for the people of Chicago. The campaign included a 3-D billboard of warmer weather and media relations efforts targeting Chicago media about the unique visual. Through extensive coverage and a unique in-person visual in the heart of Chicago, the agency garnered more than 80,000 media impressions during January, achieved top-tier Chicago coverage, received advertising industry coverage, had over 21,000 views on the time-lapse video, made a significant increase of visits on, obtained 6 million impressions on Twitter and secured local Arizona coverage of the campaign.

Situational Analysis

Off Madison Ave and Arizona Office of Tourism pre-determined that Chicago was one of the target cities of focus for a fully integrated campaign, based on the high potential of Chicago residents likely to visit Arizona.


The campaign was timed optimally to roll out at the beginning of January and be displayed throughout the month. Although the team couldn’t have known at the time, Chicago experienced a “polar vortex” in early January with sub-zero degree temperatures. At a time when Chicagoans could barely go outside due to frigid weather, we were able to serve a message to them about how Arizona is a great place to visit with its mild – even warm – winter weather.

Off Madison Ave applied a strategic approach to pitching Chicago media about the 3-D billboard and the unique visualization of warmer weather. Before media outreach began, Off Madison Ave had several pre-packaged tools to provide to the media about the billboard, including high-resolution photos and a time-lapse video of the installation.


  • Maximize the paid media investment in Chicago through public relations to increase word-of-mouth, social media buzz and in-person visitors through press coverage
  • Reinforce the message to Chicago residents that Arizona is an excellent choice for a vacation
  • Encourage individuals to either visit the site or use #WarmUpinAZ in social media


Using the time-lapse video and high-resolution photos, Off Madison Ave set out to tell the visual side of this story to Chicago-area media. Leading the media outreach with the billboard, a digital press release and talking points,

Off Madison Ave was able to illustrate what the billboard looked like and peek the interest of media via phone and through emails without having to actually be in Chicago.

Off Madison Ave also capitalized on the weather dominating the news in this market by offering a more positive story of Arizona experiencing mild temperatures. By using the weather as a news hook, the agency was able to engage with reporters easily who thought the billboard was “clever” and “genius.”

In addition to Chicago-area media outreach, the agency saw an opportunity to reach out to advertising trade publications about the creativity surrounding the guerilla marketing installation.


The AOT Target Cities campaign in Chicago was considered very successful, meeting and exceeding the clients’ expectations for coverage and media impressions. Highlights include:

  • More than 80,000 media impressions during January
  • Top-tier Chicago coverage, including Chicago Sun Times, NBC 5, FOX 4 and
  • Top-tier industry coverage, including AdWeek, Mashable and Branding Magazineo
    – The AdWeek article was shared 1,700 times on Facebook, 623 times on LinkedIn, 330 times on Twitter and 18 times on Google+o
    – The article was the third most popular story on the site on Jan. 9o
    – The Mashable coverage was shared more than 1,600 times on social media
  • Time-lapse video included in much of the media coverage was viewed more than 21,000 times in morethan 100 countries with Brazil being the highest viewing country
  • Google Analytics for showed significant jumps in traffic on days with media coverage
  • Assisted AOT in securing Arizona coverage about the Chicago campaign, including ABC Channel 15 andKTAR-FM
  • More than 6 million impressions on Twitter from secured media coverage for major publications

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