Project Description

Launching a Tourist Attraction

The Titanic Museum Attraction brought Ackermann PR aboard to develop a publicity campaign that dominated regional media attention

Issue

The Titanic Museum Attraction hired Ackermann PR to manage all aspects of public relations for the grand opening and launch. We were tasked with creating a message consistent with the museum’s philosophy of “honoring and respecting those who were on board the Titanic by keeping their stories alive” while building buzz, excitement and enthusiasm to ultimately drive visitors to the attraction – one unlike any other in the Great Smoky Mountains area.

Idea

Ackermann PR immediately identified three key audiences for the museum:  tourists to the Smoky Mountains; those who were wildly interested in the Titanic; those who are wildly enthusiastic about James Cameron’s worldwide hit movie Titanic.

While the museum was still a construction site, Ackermann PR conducted hard-hat media tours with key journalists who catered to our primary market segments. Those visits included television crews, magazine writers and newspaper journalists who covered subjects including travel and tourism, entertainment, education, archeology, history, parenting, and major general consumer publications.

We coordinated and managed all aspects of a four-day grand opening celebration, unlike anything the region had ever experienced.  Regis Philbin hosted the grand opening ceremony, which was covered by nearly 50 news organizations across the region. Each night culminated with a concert and a $75,000 fireworks display that literally stopped traffic on the Pigeon Forge Parkway. The most-watched local news organization in East Tennessee dedicated six hours of primetime television programming to an hour-long Titanic special they produced about the museum followed by John Joslyn’s two-hour documentary about the Titanic.

Impact

The grand opening was attended by 20,000 people. Local print and television coverage stretched from Asheville, NC to Baton Rouge, LA and included all major Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina cities. Nationally, the grand opening was covered in USA Today, ABC News, Live with Regis and Kelly, and the Travel Channel.

In the months since the grand opening, television crews from all over the Southeast have visited the museum, along with national network morning shows, Channel Four (a national television network in the U.K.), Southern Living Magazine, National Geographic Television, Travel + Leisure Magazine, and two additional visits from the
Travel Channel.

The Titanic Museum Attraction has averaged 100,000 visitors per month since its April 8, 2010 grand opening.