City of Independence, Missouri

“Haunted Independence” campaign wins international tourism industry recognition

A recent marketing campaign for the City of Independence Tourism Division has earned a coveted industry award in recognition of a recent paranormal tourism marketing campaign.

The “Haunted Independence” marketing campaign earned gold in the Digital Marketing – Integrated Market Campaign for Consumers B2C category of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International’s 2020 Adrian Awards. The Adrian Awards is the world’s largest advertising, digital marketing, and public relations competition for hospitality, travel, and tourism. The competition has always been a showcase and benchmark of best practices in hotel and travel-related marketing and media. The Independence Tourism Division’s gold award places it’s marketing among the very top of destinations across the world.

“Independence has worked for years now to bolster our historic sites’ haunted reputation, and we’ve seen demand for these services rise,” Independence Mayor Eileen Weir said. “We have really seen this message resonates with our audience, as ghost tours have become increasingly popular at our historic Vaile Mansion and Bingham-Waggoner Estate. But, now, with this special recognition from HSMAI, we’re confident that our efforts are continuing in the right direction. We’d like to share credit for this award with Madden Media, the City’s marketing partners who brought the ‘Haunted Independence’ campaign to life, Apex Paranormal, who organizes and coordinates many of our paranormal events, and with our historic site societies, for their willingness to accommodate and participate in our efforts.”

The ‘Haunted Independence’ campaign was built around the Paranormal Path Tour of Vaile Mansion, Bingham-Waggoner Estate, and the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum.

The goal was to pay homage to the City’s history while differentiating Visit Independence from its competitors and creating an attraction for a niche audience that had not previously been interested in visiting the area. Madden Media’s Creative and Content team crafted eerie, cinematic videos that paired spooky visuals from the properties with creepy voice-overs from the perspective of the ghosts that some believe haunt the locations.

You can watch the award winning video here: https://youtu.be/oBFDmxXi0hE.

Paired with a combination of paid digital advertising, ‘Haunted Independence’ was a giant success both quantitatively and qualitatively — exceeding all Key Performance Indicators and generating high engagement and enthusiasm from visitors and social media users.