Shifting Route 66 Across The Pond
We had to make sure whatever we did had a high impact on a low budget.
In the build-up, we got ourselves featured on the Motor Show website, in the official program, in the announcement press release, and in e-blasts to the Motor Show’s database. 30,000 programs were printed and distributed at the event and around the area, with five full-color pages dedicated to Route 66.
Then the most important part: our event display had to sell the unique Route 66 atmosphere.
When you think Route 66, you probably think big, classic American cars—so that’s what we got. We knew locals would already be bringing some to the event, so we talked with them, and were able to get them put on each corner of our space. It automatically helped draw people in, at no extra cost.
On the tent, we recreated the Route 66 Pontiac, Illinois mural. On top, we planted American flags, so you could see us from across the event. We took recycled petroleum barrels, painted them black, and put our logos on them. We went to a scrapyard for old tires. We were able to bring them together to make it look very authentic—here were the things you’d see on a Route 66 roadside. It actually looked like you were there.
Even with some bad weather, we had a steady group of people in and out, taking pictures, and asking questions about the destination. We had maps of Route 66’s path through Illinois, to help them plan their road trips. And we provided them with flyers promoting tour itineraries from Enjoy Illinois’ UK tour operator partners.
We wanted to keep in touch with visitors via email, so we signed them up for an Enjoy Illinois database—with the opportunity to win a four-night holiday to Illinois as a token of appreciation. This got us several hundred new contacts.
People enjoyed the experience, and appreciated that we had folks from Illinois there to talk with and answer questions. It showed the commitment Illinois is willing to make to welcome them on over.
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