Sedona able to capitalize on cross-country cab ride

When Bob and Betty Matas were ready to move from New York City to Sedona, AZ, for their retirement, they faced a quandary: They didn't want to fly, but neither of them drove.

When Bob and Betty Matas were ready to move from New York City to Sedona, AZ, for their retirement, they faced a quandary: They didn't want to fly, but neither of them drove.

So they did the next best thing and hired a New York City taxi to drive them there. The media picked up the story, and Sedona decided it wanted to capitalize on the publicity to promote itself as a tourism destination. So, via a personal acquaintance, it hired Goodman Media to turn the human interest story into a raft of free media.

Strategy

Goodman Media CEO Tom Goodman called a friend in Sedona when the story broke and recommended capitalizing on it. The Sedona Chamber of Commerce took him up on it, and the agency immediately went to work. The plan was to keep the story in the press throughout the couple's trip, and ensure a big splash when they finally arrived.

Tactics

"It was a bit of a moving target," Goodman says. The arrival date changed because of bad weather, so the agency had to keep the press engaged. A New York Daily News reporter went along for the ride, ensuring daily coverage. The firm helped coordinate an arrival event featuring the mayor and other local dignitaries. "We wanted to communicate it was Sedona that we were talking about, not just Arizona," says Goodman. Photo ops with the city's famous red rock backdrop ensured locally targeted coverage.

Results

Local network affiliates attended the arrival and spread it to their parent networks. Coverage also included the AP. The arrival coincided with the Virginia Tech shootings, but it still gained exposure for Sedona. "It worked out as a good piece," says Malachy Wienges, vice chair of the chamber, adding that the stories featured the city prominently. About 100 dignitaries and media attended the arrival, he says.

Future

Wienges says there is "no question" the city will work with Goodman Media on future projects.

Sedona , AZ, Chamber

PR team: Sedona Chamber of Commerce (Sedona, AZ) and Goodman Media (New York)

Campaign: Publicizing an NYC to Sedona move in a taxi cab

Duration: April 2007

Budget: $10,000

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