The state’s largest event turned to us in 2004 with a big challenge. How could it grow attendance and revenue; attract a younger demographic; and further strengthen the fair’s image as the premier entertainment event in Kansas? Challenges included urban perceptions of (and sometimes apathy toward) agriculture; rising gas prices; a less-than-ideal economic climate; increasing competition in the entertainment industry; and ever-changing, unpredictable Kansas weather. Fortunately, we like challenges.
Greteman Group’s media support was integral to the success of the Kansas State Fair.LORI HART
Kansas State Fair
past interim general manager
Our initial rebranding and subsequent promotional campaigns were supported by dedicated, ongoing PR efforts. These happened throughout the year, but picked up as we approached the fall fair and became all consuming as we embedded dedicated team members on the fairgrounds throughout the 10 days of the fair.
Before the fair, we conducted media training with spokespersons, set up and attended media tours with key executives, and drafted our press-release plan. Media days included back-to-back interviews at Wichita radio and news stations as well as an onsite media day inviting statewide media to sample new fair foods, meet fair personnel and learn what’s new and what’s not to miss.
Media relations during the fair included running the onsite publicity office, making customized pitches to reporters, issuing daily press releases, scheduling interviews, accompanying media backstage, and assisting as needed with crisis communications. Our earned media was supported by paid a statewide TV, radio, print and outdoor campaign. By leveraging our modest budget, we achieved a 75% reach and overall frequency of 5.2.
While other fairs nationwide suffer from lower and lower attendance – or have even shut down – the Kansas State Fair stands apart. The annual event brings up to 359,000 attendees through the gates and has seen increases as high as 4,000 in year-over-year attendance. Throughout the event, food vendors and exhibitors jump on the opportunity to incorporate campaign creative into their materials. The fair sells campaign-emblazoned T-shirts, sweatshirts, posters and cookbooks. Representatives from nearly 50 media outlets cover the event, including national media BBC News U.S. and Newsweek. Yes, we’ve won best-in-show international awards, but even better, we’ve pulled in strong new audiences.