CAMPAIGNS: Community Relations - Love of landmarks is Hampton's hook

Client: Hilton Hotels Corporation/Hampton Hotels (Memphis, TN)

Client: Hilton Hotels Corporation/Hampton Hotels (Memphis, TN)

Client: Hilton Hotels Corporation/Hampton Hotels (Memphis, TN)

PR Team: Douglas-Cohn & Wolfe (Los Angeles)

Campaign: Explore the Highway with Hampton

Time Frame: April 2000 - Ongoing

Budget: dollars 230,000

A Centris survey conducted in March 2000 revealed that 75% of guests of The Hampton Inn hotel chain, which has hundreds of outlets along U.S. highways, travel by car. So the company and its PR firm, Douglas-Cohn & Wolfe, devised 'Explore the Highway with Hampton,' a campaign aimed at restoring quirky, cultural and historical roadside attractions, such as the world's largest duck in Long Island, a 100-year-old mission bell in San Diego and a Santa Claus in Alaska.


The survey of more than 1,000 people found that nine out of 10 Americans believe it is important to preserve the country's roadside landmarks, and 83% of those feel they share some responsibility for doing so. Additionally, eight out of 10 families include a visit to a landmark or roadside attraction when traveling by car.

Hampton seized the opportunity to help preserve the roadways it serves by refurbishing landmarks, while appealing to customers who travel them.

To find landmarks that needed help, Douglas-Cohn & Wolfe conducted a national search, spoke with convention and visitors bureaus, landmark owners, and the National Preserve in Washington, DC.

To lend credibility, the agency used state officials and historians to present proclamations at unveiling ceremonies commemorating Hampton's contribution to protecting and preserving local landmarks.

The campaign's primary objective was to generate national awareness of Hampton's commitment to the community through increased print and broadcast coverage.


The agency set up a news bureau, conducted pitch calls to the media and produced a radio spot with Paul Harvey, a nationally syndicated radio figure. Press kits and collateral materials called on the public to suggest landmark refurbishment sites.

Local and regional media outreach activities include distributing project-focused media materials and working with local contractors and landmark owners to secure projects. A Web site has been established for consumers to submit landmark nominations in their areas, providing good local hooks for the national campaign.


The hotel completed five restoration projects in 2000 and is currently working on a vintage gas station along historical Route 66 in Illinois.

Media coverage included USA Today, Newsday, The New York Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, Money and the Associated Press. The campaign garnered nearly 40 million impressions in its first three months.


Hampton is extending the initiative into 2001 and considering doubling its PR budget.

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