Attracting New Audiences with Kansas State Fair Advertising
Kansas State Fair

Advertising the Kansas State Fair

The state’s largest event turned to us in 2004 with a big challenge. How to attract a young, urban demographic to a steeped-in-rural-tradition event. What happened since has been a wild ride. Gaining both new audiences and best-in-show international awards for our initial rebranding and for multiple subsequent campaigns.

White Quote

Greteman Group truly helps Kansas get its fair on.

SUSAN SANKEY
Kansas State Fair general manager
kansas-state-fair-advertising-outdoor-advertising-design
BannerAd

Reaching Out to Younger, Urban Audiences

Through the years we’ve had lots of fun – and success speaking to our varied audiences: teens and young adults (18-24), adults with families (25-54) and traditional fairgoers (55-plus). While state fairs nationwide have witnessed declining attendance or even closed, our fair is going strong. Typically, our campaign creative locks in on the zany and fabulous fair foods, the major entertainment and the madcap midway. We emphasize the social, too. Appealing to young people wanting a different place to hang out, mingle with friends and make memories unlike anywhere else. Our media mix includes TV, radio, billboards and posters, but also digital channels for contests, crowdsourcing and targeted digital buys. Turnkey media support helps generate strong broadcast and media coverage. Our role: developing and issuing press releases, staffing the media office, working directly with reporters and editors, monitoring coverage, assisting with crisis communications, media training, talking point development and more.

kansas-state-fair-advertising-get-on-a-stick-billboard
kansas-state-fair-advertising-outdoor-billboard
kansas-state-fair-advertising-blast-call-billboard
White Quote

Revitalizing the fair’s advertising to attract new audiences has taken us new places. With successful outcomes.

SONIA GRETEMAN
agency president and creative director

Selling Good Times and Value – On a Stick

Our 2014-2016 locked in on the zany, fabulous fair foods, the major entertainment and the madcap midway. The theme communicated a core human need – food –and added the urgency of not missing a must-attend social event. Campaign headlines reinforced the flavors and fun of the fair while propelling the public to action. “Get on a Stick.” “Fried N’ Joy.” “Blast Call.” Each provided a rallying cry, urging one and all to not miss out on this beloved, novelty, one-of-a-kind experience.

White Quote

Like the Kansas State Fair, Greteman Group never gets old.

DENNY STOECKLEIN
Kansas State Fair former general manager
kansas-state-fair-advertising-illustration
kansas-state-fair-advertising-billboard copy

The Kansas State Fair Never Gets Old

Our “Never Gets Old” campaign honored 100 years of the fair. The TV spot featured a boater-hat-wearing, party-horn-blowing, cowboy-boot-kicking, banjo-picking barker welcoming one and all. This fun-loving, high-energy mascot sported a blue-ribbon tie and a vintage look oddly modern and classic all at the same time. He took viewers through a carnival, midway and entertainment set against a starry night sky. Kansas musicians – Tom Page on vocals, guitar, mandolin; Richard Crowson on banjo; Jonathan Eaton on bass; and Tommy Crabb on percussion – made the original song truly sing. The campaign also included print, outdoor, radio and digital.

kansas-state-fair-advertising-raving-bull-poster
White Quote

There's a pleasant dizziness that comes with working on creative as fun as the fair. It's like being there.

BARRY OWENS
agency writer/producer
kansas-state-fair-advertising-sheep-thrills-poster
White Quote

Our quirky, groovy Raving Bull and carousel of animals offering Sheep Thrills captured hearts and sales.

SONIA GRETEMAN
agency president
and creative director

Attendance-Driving and Award-Winning

With the major economic downturn of 2008, our 2009-2011 campaign featured a couple of quirky barnyard critters: a groovy, glasses-wearing “Raving Bull” and a carousel of animals offering “Sheep Thrills.” Both spoke to good times and value. Using traditional fair images with edgier headlines and bold illustrations helped the campaign resonate with all audiences, reminding fairgoers to get themselves out to the fun. And they needn’t break the bank doing it.

Bottom-Line: Creative Buzz Builds Business

We’ve served as the fair’s agency of record since 2004, and the creative just keeps getting better. And that’s saying something. Our first campaign won best of show at the International Association of Fairs and Expos in Las Vegas, and we’ve racked up lots of other wins, including four Telly awards. Campaign headlines consistently reinforce the unique flavors and fun of the fair while propelling the public to action. 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 more than 350,000 attendees through the gates, an increase of nearly 4,000 in year-over-year attendance, and up to a $200,000 boost in gate receipts. With the assistance of our efforts, the midway has reported some of its highest gross ever at $1.2 million. Throughout the event, food vendors and exhibitors jump on the opportunity to incorporate the creative into their materials. The fair sells campaign-driven T-shirts, sweatshirts, posters and cookbooks at its merchandise booth. Representatives from nearly 50 media outlets visit the fair to cover the event, including national media BBC News U.S. and Newsweek.

back to top button
Top