GRR Winter Advertising

Digital Advertising

Imagine 10-degree temperatures and a long commute into work with snow-filled roads bundled up in your car with your heat blasting high, wrapped up in your parka and gloves. You arrive at work, sit down on your computer already frustrated with the cold you're dealing with. You start searching for a vacation and a digital ad pops up with crystal blue waters and the text, "Keep Your Tan Lines." You visit another website and see, "Trade Road Salt for Sea Salt." That would be great, wouldn't it? West Michigan can be pretty brutal from November through March, but the Gerald R. Ford International Airport helps people escape. By offering nonstop service to places like Punta Gorda, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas, Fort Myers, and Tampa; our passengers can get some relief from the snow and ice that engrosses our state, and enjoy sunshine in warmer climates. Through this advertising campaign that ran both digital and outdoor, we developed creative content that was catchy, quick, inviting, tempting, and witty. Imagery was important for this advertising as we wanted people to catch a glimpse of flip flops or the beach, and start planning in their minds what their next vacation could be like.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

This campaign was designed with the intent to promote our new nonstop service to Fort Lauderdale and Punta Gorda on Allegiant Air, but also to encourage travel to any warm climate via a nonstop or easy connection through one of our carriers' hubs. Our overall goals were to fill the planes headed to our seasonal nonstop destinations (FLL & PGD on Allegiant, TPA and RSW on Southwest). Additionally, we wanted to pull in some of the passengers from counties outside of our catchment area to educate them on the nonstop service we offer. We made sure to target passengers by zipcode both in our local DMA, and in outside counties of areas surrounding Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Big Rapids.

2. Production: 

In partnership with Felder Communications, our branding/marketing agency, we came up with several creative ads. These included: "Keep Your Tan Lines," with painted toes and a background of a beach scene. "Trade Road Salt for Sea Salt," included toes in the sand imagery and "It's 85-degrees somewhere," had a line of flip flops on a dock. "Give the Ice Scraper a Rest," was pictured with a sunset of the Arizona desert and the "Seats are Available" ad included two empty beach chairs facing the ocean. The imagery was important to draw people in, and the text included creative, catchy, but simple calls to action.

3. Evaluation: 

This campaign was not only successful, it was the talk of the town. Our team could not go anywhere in town without someone saying, "I love the flip flops!" or "That beach scene made me hop online to book a flight immediately!" That's what we wanted. Not only that, but our airline partners were pleased. Our leisure traffic has increased over the last few years with the addition of both Southwest and Allegiant Air, and our network planners give us feedback that our new routes do tremendous. In fact, Southwest has increased the frequency they are flying to Tampa & Orlando for 2016, because of the success they saw in 2015. We have grown on Southwest from 7 daily departures to 10 seasonally from January-April. Additionally, we saw delivery of over 6.5 million impressions through the digital campaign alone. GRR saw record passenger numbers with 2,550,193 passengers in 2015 (an all-time record), and we are on pace to break that record again in 2016 currently sitting at a 1.3% increase year-over-year.

4. Budget: 

The budget for this campaign was around $95,000 for media buys. Buys were done separately for each aspect of digital (Facebook, Extended Display Network using our local agency, and travel website buys) and consisted of placement costs of $49,212, $20,250, $1,000, and $23,050. The total was slightly below budget at $93,512. Digital ads were done through Google search re-targeting, categorical and site targeting, and local news targeting. Additionally, digital ads were placed through social media channels like Facebook, and on,, and Targeting through travel websites included display ads on each website, and flight search marquee/flight results. Our local agency partnered with us on the creative, and approximately 40 hours and $6,000 went into this cost. A few minor expenses were incurred for things like paper, print supplies, etc. at less than $200.