Hampton Hotels renovates its ongoing initiative to honor American legends

In 2000, Hampton Hotels launched "Save-A-Landmark," a landmark renovation program.

Client: Hampton Hotels (Memphis, TN)
PR team: Cohn & Wolfe (Los Angeles)
Campaign: Save-A-Landmark
Duration: April-Oct. 2008
Budget: $755,000

In 2000, Hampton Hotels launched “Save-A-Landmark,” a landmark renovation program. In 2008, it decided to leverage the success with “Landmark Legends,” a national effort revamping sites dedicated to Americans who inspired change.

Strategy
Working with AOR Cohn & Wolfe, the team launched two surveys to see what defines a legend and which Americans embody these characteristics. Identifying landmarks dedicated to the legends, the team scheduled each refurbishment around timely events to create buzz. The first was The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN, at the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, says Judy Christa-Cathey, VP of brand marketing for Hampton Hotels.

The event was scheduled around the anniversary of King's death, and five other projects followed in 2008.

Tactics
The team wrote letters to governments in key communities, shot b-roll, and pitched local and national media to encourage voting on HamptonLandmarks.com and promote the renovations.

Additionally, the team created a “Landmark Legends” theme on its site and tapped actor Samuel L. Jackson to speak at the museum on the anniversary of King's death.

Results
The landmark survey exceeded 45,000 votes, and the team attracted 50 to 75 volunteers for the museum renovation. Coverage included CNN, USA Today, the Black History Channel, and local news.

“More people were saying, ‘I want to be involved,'” adds Jeremy Baka, chief creative catalyst at C&W.

Future
Hampton Hotels and C&W plan to continue renovations throughout 2009.

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