Through a collaboration with award-winning sand sculptor Todd Vander Pluym, Visit California commissioned a 40-ton, 12-foot-tall sand sculpture at South Street Seaport in New York City. To help promote Visit California’s new family campaign, 'Kidifornia,' the massive sculpture depicted family-friendly icons throughout the state, including amusement parks, beaches, sea life, Redwood trees and more.
Despite blizzard conditions, several feet of snow and below-freezing temperatures, the sculpture was masterfully completed, successfully engaging strategic New York City and family media and consumers alike, enticing them with thoughts of warm temperatures in the Golden State.
Broadcast coverage included a report on NBC 4, two live segments from South Street Seaport on the PIX 11 morning news and a segment with New York Live host Ben Aaron, which was also published on the organization’s website and social channels. Coverage also ran in New York City taxis for 14.5 hours over March 22-23, generating a total of 100,000 impressions. These airings not only encouraged local New Yorkers to visit the sand sculpture but also raised awareness of the Kidifornia campaign and California’s family friendly experiences.
An “instameet” was held at the sand sculpture on Thursday, March 23 to drive earned media and digital amplification of the activation. Top parenting media and digital influencers were invited, along with their children, to attend a hands-on VIP sand sculpture workshop with Pluym and his team. Following the workshop, attendees joined Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta and members of Visit California’s PR team to network over gourmet grilled cheese, pizza, hot chocolate and cookies. Thirteen media and influencers joined in the fun.
The sculpture also had its moment in the spotlight when “Real Housewives of New York City” star Bethenny Frankel happened to walk by and shared photos of the sculpture on her Instagram and Snapchat accounts. Thanks to the Daily Mail website, her snaps – featuring her daughter oohing and ahhing over the impressive work of art – were shared with her millions of followers.
Consumer digital amplification included two on-site selfie station frames with #kidifornia and a Kidifornia-themed Snapchat filter to further enhance social excitement around the activation.
An iLite selfie station was set up on Thursday, March 23, and Saturday, March 25, with a brand ambassador encouraging content creation and sharing as well as sourcing email addresses for Visit California’s marketing database. Brand ambassadors also provided consumers with California Visitors Guides and Kidifornia backpacks and temporary tattoos.
After a weekend of bringing the best of the Golden State’s family experiences to the Big Apple, New Yorkers of all ages were surely dreaming big and planning their next trip to Kidifornia.