Pittsburgh invites visitors from near and far to pull up a chair
Tourism campaign eschewed traditional highlight reel to focus on city’s welcoming nature.
It was time for VisitPITTSBURGH, the official tourism marketing and promotion agency for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, to undertake its first national campaign in a decade. Normally, the agency focuses on the driving market, but Pittsburgh International Airport had added more direct flights from a variety of cities as near as Boston and as far as Seattle, inspiring VisitPITTSBURGH to undertake a campaign to attract travelers from both markets. The “Pull Up A Chair” campaign is the first-place winner in the “Hospitality, Travel or Tourism Campaign” category of the PR Daily Awards.
The chair VisitPITTSBURGH invited visitors to pull up is based on Pittsburgh’s famous “parking chair,” a tradition in which someone who shovels a space for their car can reserve it by putting a chair in that spot. Centered around the act of offering someone a chair—a universal sign of hospitality—the mostly-digital multimedia campaign focused on the leisure market.
The campaign was introduced in stages, with the 3,900 attendees of the PCMA Convening Leaders Meeting serving as a focus group. A campaign video was shown on a Times Square video board over the summer as two eight-foot parking chairs were delivered to various locations around the city. “Good Morning America” broadcast live from Pittsburgh with host Ginger Zee sitting on one of VisitPITTSBURGH’s eight-foot parking chairs; she mentioned the campaign to the national TV audience.
Later, 90 painted chairs were selected to be displayed in an art exhibit and then auctioned off for charity. A social media contest asked followers to send photos of their favorite chair with a Pittsburgh landscape behind it.
The campaign racked up impressive metrics, notably web traffic from targeted cities. Congratulations to the entire VisitPITTSBURGH marketing department.
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