"A New Tune” Campaign

Public Relations Campaigns - Medium Airport

Repeatedly named one of the hottest and fastest growing cities in the country, Nashville is undoubtedly climbing the charts. And so too are its airports—Nashville International and John C. Tune—which helps connect the city to every corner of the U.S., and beyond.

While Nashville International Airport (BNA) comes to mind quickly for those who’ve traveled to Music City, John C. Tune Airport (JWN) is a vital airport for the general aviation community. In 1986, the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority (MNAA) opened Tune as a 399-acre general aviation airport with one storage hangar and 10 T-hangars to help relieve congestion at the city’s main airport, and added a 3,600-square-foot terminal ten years later. Today, JWN is the busiest general aviation airport in Tennessee operating 24 hours a day with two enclosed hangars and 125 T-hangars. John C. Tune contributes more than $20 million and more than 200 jobs to the Middle Tennessee economy. It serves as the front door to Nashville for general aviation enthusiasts and corporate travelers.

Through the years, however, John C. Tune Airport has seen its share of wear and tear, and a major reconstruction and renovation was badly needed to keep pace with Nashville’s unprecedented growth and newfound status as one of the country’s hottest cities. Even more, the airport was in need of safety system and technology upgrades to keep visitors and the community safe and secure when arriving and departing from JWN.

In 2013, MNAA kicked off Phase 1 of a three-phase reconstruction project that would give John C. Tune a dramatic facelift. The remaining components of the project, Phase 2 and Phase 3, however would require a complete 60-day closure of the entire airport in 2015. With that in mind, MNAA developed a strategic communications and public relations campaign to inform tenants, media and the public of the closure and the reconstruction and renovation project. In August 2015, MNAA unveiled a “New Tune”—a completely redesigned general aviation airport that paralleled the “New Nashville.”

Public relations strategy and planning for Phase 2 and Phase 3 began in 2015 months prior to the closing. Audiences for the campaign’s communications included JWN tenants and users, community and business leaders, and the general public.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

To keep JWN tenants informed during the entire reconstruction and renovation of the airport. MNAA wanted to capture and build upon that momentum by developing fresh and exciting creative campaign to the theme of “A New Tune.” This concept and look and feel would be carried through to all forms of communications.

2. Production: 

Design elements for the “A New Tune” campaign started with the development of a logo. With the natural wordplay the Tune name presents combined with Music City as inspirations, MNAA designed the logo to reflect a vinyl album—a nod to the resurgence and rebirth of the medium. The concept was also extended to incorporate the project highlights as song names on a track list, including:
• Track 1 – Runway to my Heart: Runway Extensions
• Track 2 – Taxi all the Way, Part I: Taxiway Alpha Extension
• Track 6 – Light Up My Life, and Runway: Runway Lights and Signage Upgrades
• Track 7 – Whole Lotta Reshapin’ (The Apron) Going On: Apron Rehabilitation
• Track 10 – Lookin’ for a Sign: Terminal Landscaping and Signage Improvements

This creative design and messaging around the reconstruction project would be conveyed to tenants, media and consumers through email newsletters, social media, media relations, and a dedicated website with regular updates.

Additionally, MNAA designed and produced a new sign for the airport. Like the New Tune concept, this sign needed to integrate music yet also convey the terminal’s new modern feel. With those goals in mind, the team used a sleek and simple text treatment and folded in a music note.

Once the brand identity for the new Tune was established, MNAA turned to planning for the eventual reopening with a two-part strategy. The first would be the official ribbon cutting and reopening of John C. Tune on August 1, 2015. This day would mark the first flights into and out of JWN. Additionally, a larger press conference would be held in the following weeks to publicly celebrate the reopening.

MNAA’s public relations campaign began well before construction started on June 1 with informational meetings with tenants where they learned of the construction schedule and what to expect. Tenants received regular updates and communications on progress via direct mail, email newsletters and through a dedicated webpage where photos and videos were uploaded every 10 days.

Leading up to the 60-day closure of JWN, MNAA wanted to do something special for tenants who were going to have to relocate their aircrafts for the summer as well as introduce the new branding campaign – “A New Tune” - and re-communicate the upcoming project. The team realized that creating a chocolate 45 RPM to announce the start of the reconstruction projects at JWN met all of these goals. Tenants were also given commemorative chocolate molded into the shape of an album with the New Tune logo, artwork and track list as an album sleeve.

Upon closure, MNAA also developed and distributed a press release to local media and directly to its email database to inform of the closure. During the closure, MNAA emailed tenants every 10 days with a link to the dedicated “A New Tune” webpage with progress updates and photos.
As the reopen date drew near, MNAA began coordination for the ribbon cutting and press conference events. The ribbon-cutting event was held on August 1 with MNAA leadership, business leaders and tenants, and an inaugural flight piloted by MNAA Board Member Bobby Joslin into and out of the New Tune. The team also developed a video of the event and inaugural flights to mark the project’s completion. Following the ribbon cutting, a press release and event video were distributed to local media to inform and invite them to tour newly renovated and reconstructed John C. Tune Airport. MNAA then hosted Nashville’s largest newspaper The Tennessean and local television stations on a guided tour of the airport and showcased each new addition and upgrade.

MNAA also hosted a large press conference/grand re-opening—securing speakers, preparing a run of show, developing talking points and coordinating logistics—to celebrate the JWN’s. The press conference opened with remarks from MNAA President and CEO Rob Wigington followed by Federal Aviation Administration Associate Administrator for Airports Eduardo Angeles and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean praising the extensive project and its completion in just 60 days. Each speaker expressed excitement to have John C. Tune transform into a modern airport with safety systems that tenants and pilots can be proud of as the welcome center for Nashville’s general aviation community.

3. Evaluation: 

By all accounts, the John C. Tune Airport reconstruction project was a tremendous success. The project was completed on time, and the amount of work completed in 60 days was truly incredible. Tenants and general aviation travelers took note of the improvements and instantly became enthralled with the New Tune. News outlets such as the Nashville Business Journal, the Associated Press, The Tennessean and local affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX all ran stories announcing the project and Tune’s reopening. Additionally, The Tennessean wrote an in-depth article on the reconstruction project and used quotes and photos gathered on the press tour.

But, more importantly, the renovations and reconstruction efforts have received resounding praise from pilots and other aviation crew members who operate at JWN frequently.

“The improvements at John Tune Airport have helped our operations,” said Leland Ross, chief pilot for Dream Aire, LLC. “The runway length available now allows us to takeoff at gross weight, giving us unlimited flexibility regarding trip planning and a reduction in fuel cost.”

JWN contributes more than $20 million to the local economy each year and sees 72,000 annual flights, and that number continues to grow alongside Nashville’s growth. With John C. Tune’s new, modernized profile and state-of-the-art safety systems, it is now, more than ever, a premiere general aviation airport for the region and a true reflection of Music City. It is truly “A New Tune.”

4. Budget: 

The entire budget for the John C. Tune Airport “New Tune” campaign was approximately $14,500. This included the 400 mailed chocolate albums to tenants, the ribbon cutting event in July and the grand re-opening event in September for the community, media and elected officials.