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Connecting travelers, brands, outdoor activations and digital.

The Opportunity

The Port of Portland asked Sparkloft to conceive and execute a striking social media activation to build excitement for the inaugural nonstop flight between Portland International Airport and London Heathrow Airport. The activation’s creative needed to satisfy the high expectations of the Port’s key partner, Delta Air Lines, and deliver performance above a standard content strategy and media buy while still targeting the local region’s travelers. 

The Insight

Portland is a visual city, filled with beauty both natural and manmade.  Art is everywhere, so getting people to stop and take notice of something new means making sure you grab their full attention. When the Port of Portland asked us to create a social media activation that would rapidly raise awareness for the new nonstop flight to London, we knew it would need to be big. We chose 3-D ground mural, over 60 feet long, as the best way to stop people in their tracks—even if they were stepping right on it!  After careful research of pedestrian traffic and local retail at several key Portland public spaces, we chose Director Park, where neighboring businesses attracted an upscale clientele and nearby offices promised a high-income lunch crowd. In addition, Director Park’s proximity to local art venues gave it an additional draw for people wanting to see something unique.

The Execution

The mural, created by a team of specialized artists from Los Angeles and over 60 feet long when completed, depicted an iconic London Guard emerging from the ground of the park.  The guard’s open hand and giant fuzzy hat offered perfect interactive opportunities for park visitors to complete the mural in creative and compelling photos.

When the mural was unveiled, Sparkloft dispatched street teams and photographers to drive an initial burst of excitement and capture creative for paid media. Through the mural’s 2-week installation in the park, Sparkloft continued to highlight the best photographs so far through the Port’s social channels and promoted posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The mural’s call to action allowed anyone who posted a photo of the London Guard along with the contest hashtag to Instagram or Twitter the opportunity to win two free tickets to London on the nonstop flight. Signs, street teams, and social content all informed the audience of this opportunity, and at high-traffic times there was often a line of visitors waiting for their chance to take a photo of (and on) the mural.

The Results

The Instagram Mural delivered over 1.2 million unique impressions, with over 2 million total tracked views across Instagram and Twitter.  Most remarkably, these results came entirely from user generated content—posts of the mural featuring the hashtag.  Over the course of the 2-week campaign, over 500 people officially entered the photo contest, including several of Portland’s biggest social media influencers, none of whom were paid for their entries.  

Overall, the activation delivered value 300% higher than a similar media buy, greatly outperforming the average cost-per-action on both Instagram and Twitter.  In addition, the Port of Portland’s stakeholders for the campaign—Delta and several of Portland’s largest businesses who plan to utilize the service—enthusiastically endorsed the campaign through active participation in the contest and content distribution.