Carousel contest riders get dizzy for Seaport Village

Situated on the waterfront in downtown San Diego, Seaport Village is one of the oldest shopping, dining, and entertainment centers in the city.

Client: Seaport Village (San Diego)

Agency: Bailey Gardiner (San Diego)

Campaign: The 30 for 30 Carousel Challenge

Duration: August - October 2010

Budget: $13,500

Situated on the waterfront in downtown San Diego, Seaport Village is one of the oldest shopping, dining, and entertainment centers in the city. To help celebrate its 30th anniversary last year, the village and AOR Bailey Gardiner devised this community relations campaign that culminated with 30 contestants riding an historic 1895 Loof carousel for 30 hours for a chance to win $10,000.

“We wanted an attention grabbing event unique to Seaport Village and to give back to the community,” explains Seaport Village marketing manager Megan Capizzi. “The carousel is a focal point of the village. We could tell the story behind Seaport Village and our relationship with the community.”  

Objectives were to drive traffic on-site and online.


Bailey Gardiner's director of PR Carrie Shields explains the carousel challenge “had legs online and with TV,” and was bigger than just the anniversary itself.

Social media outreach, media relations, and events, drove engagement.


The hunt for contestants began in August. Seaport Village's blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, and Foursquare were used to attract entries. Media partners LMA Radio and San Diego CityBeat also promoted the event and collected entries.

Outreach to entertainment and parenting media outlets and bloggers also began in August.

Videos of each of the 30 contestants explaining why they thought they would win were posted on  Contestants also promoted the event through their personal social media networks. 

Seaport Village businesses remained open for the entire 30 hours. Additional on-site events included live music, magic shows, radio giveaways, and busker  (street) entertainers. Signs, magazine ads, and fliers in the form of barf bags helped to increase awareness.

The winner's check presentation wrapped up the campaign.


For the week of October 1, Capizzi reports 93% increase in average daily website traffic (from 750 to 1,450); 435% increase in average daily blog traffic (from 40 to 214); and 76% increase in leads from Facebook to the website. She adds that carousel business nearly doubled during the event, and 701 contest applications were submitted.

Contestant videos got 2,564 views October 7-9 (per Google Analytics). Nearly 300 new Facebook fans joined October 1 -10, up from an average monthly gain of 50 prior to the campaign.

Capizzi says parking revenue increased 42% on October 8 and 17% on October 9, compared to the same dates in 2009. The campaign also garnered 43 media placements, including CNN. 


The team is currently promoting an upcoming Busker Festival.

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