It was time for VisitPITTSBURGH, the official tourism marketing and promotion agency for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, to undertake its first national campaign in a decade. Normally, the agency focuses on the driving market, but Pittsburgh International Airport had added more direct flights from a variety of cities as near as Boston and as far as Seattle, inspiring VisitPITTSBURGH to undertake a campaign to attract travelers from both markets. The “Pull Up A Chair” campaign is the first-place winner in the “Hospitality, Travel or Tourism Campaign” category of the PR Daily Awards.
The chair VisitPITTSBURGH invited visitors to pull up is based on Pittsburgh’s famous “parking chair,” a tradition in which someone who shovels a space for their car can reserve it by putting a chair in that spot. Centered around the act of offering someone a chair—a universal sign of hospitality—the mostly-digital multimedia campaign focused on the leisure market.
The campaign was introduced in stages, with the 3,900 attendees of the PCMA Convening Leaders Meeting serving as a focus group. A campaign video was shown on a Times Square video board over the summer as two eight-foot parking chairs were delivered to various locations around the city. “Good Morning America” broadcast live from Pittsburgh with host Ginger Zee sitting on one of VisitPITTSBURGH’s eight-foot parking chairs; she mentioned the campaign to the national TV audience.
Later, 90 painted chairs were selected to be displayed in an art exhibit and then auctioned off for charity. A social media contest asked followers to send photos of their favorite chair with a Pittsburgh landscape behind it.
The campaign racked up impressive metrics, notably web traffic from targeted cities. Congratulations to the entire VisitPITTSBURGH marketing department.