This Was Badass: Social Marketing Streaks Across Austin Sky

by · April 2, 20146 comments

So much of what marketers do, especially social media strategists and digital marketing professionals, is based around the platforms we’ve identified as relevant and necessary for our campaigns and our clients. Probably the best social application for breaking news for event-based campaigns is Twitter because of its rapid reach and sporadic bursts of interactions—those replies, RTs and favorites. It’s immediate and it’s proven effective for engagement.

A campaign which unveiled #PiInTheSky in Austin, Texas during SXSW should revolutionize the way advertisers and companies do business. In recognition of International Pi Day, (March 14 or 3.14) a kickoff to the celebration started at 6:28 p.m. local time. Originally the plan was to execute the event on Pi Day (March 14), but Mother Nature’s forecast moved the event to the night prior. The time was significant in that pi times two is a number some believe is the truer reflection of the power of the circle.

AirSign, an aerial advertising company from Williston Florida, partnered with artist ISHKY, who specializes in grand-scale projects. ISHKY’s “Pi In The Sky” explores the boundaries of scale, public space, permanence, and the relationship between Earth and the physical universe. Five synchronized aircrafts equipped with dot-matrix skywriting technology followed a flight pattern that formed 527 characters of pi’s infinite sequence. Each character measured more than a quarter-mile in height. Think of a skyscraper.

It’s not necessarily news to integrate traditional public relations tactics with social media marketing efforts to gain exposure. The idea behind this particular campaign, though, was to test the impact of skywriting technology (aerial advertising) while integrating a social media marketing component—the hashtag.

What Happened:

The hysteria escalated quickly. #PiInTheSky trended top 5 in the US for a few hours, but maintained the top-trending hashtag in Austin through March 14. #PiInTheSky had 3,600+ uses on Instagram with the inclusion of videos, photos, etc. Clearly the visual component to the event played into a tech saavy audience. It was a perfect recipe for a social media photo frenzy.

 

Pi in the Sky

 

Photos Courtesy of RyanHillMusic

Here were some reactions:

 

The Skinny

Aerial advertising, a traditional advertising option, met social media engagement and mass exposure. Before this event, many didn’t realize aerial advertising was more than Cessnas pulling banners across beach skylines. So much “buzz” in campaigns like this result in users asking the question how. This presented a unique opportunity to educate the public and educate marketers, too.

So hashtags in the sky? What do you think?

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About Jeremy Juhasz

Jeremy Juhasz

Jeremy Juhasz is a current social media strategist for EMSI Public Relations and former non-profit marketing coordinator for the Food Bank of WNY and Goodwill Industries of WNY. Jeremy is the co-founder of fantasyhelp.com and now resides in Tampa, Florida. Follow him on twitter @Jeremy_Juhasz.

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