2018 Top Hat Finalists – Marketing

Best Broadcast Campaign

Sandia Resort & Casino

“Get Closer”
Agency: Tribal Resources

Sandia Resort & Casino worked with Tribal Resources on the “Get Closer” campaign to inspire and ignite interest in the resort as a place that is more than just the sum of its spectacular parts. For newcomers, the goal of the campaign was to frame Sandia Resort & Casino as Albuquerque’s premier gaming and entertainment destination. The campaign features video montage of the experiences and aesthetic features of the resort, captured through a variety of framing styles. The campaign was launched in February 2018, resulting in a 14% in slot net win for the casino, along with increased usage of dining, entertainment, golf and spa services by guests.

City of Deming

Great American Duck Race
Agency: HK Advertising

Every year, the City of Deming plays host to the Great American Duck Race, which just hosted it’s 39th installment Aug. 23-26, 2018. The City of Deming worked with HK Advertising to develop a broadcast campaign with four stated goals: maximize the trip to Deming with overnight stays, extend the duration of their trip, increase economic activity in the city and county, and increase and leverage partnerships with the Tourism Department and the City of Deming. The campaign resulted in an increase in attendance to the event, along with increased spending and an added boost to the lodgers’ tax.

Santa Fe County

“Travels with Darley” television Episodes
Agency: DCN Creative

Santa Fe County collaborated with DCN Creative to produce two, half-hour episodes focused on arts and culture and outdoor adventures in Santa Fe County. The episodes were broadcast to PBS affiliates, and received additional promotion through the US Forest Service and National Forest Foundation partners. The goal of this campaign was to build on the historical and cultural reputation of Santa Fe County, appeal to the traveler’s desire for immersive, local and authentic experiences, and the grow preference for Santa Fe County among active travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. The results of the campaign netted website traffic growth by nearly 300%, and an increase in lodgers’ tax by 25% during the period the episodes aired.

Best Print Campaign

City of Gallup / Gallup McKinley County Chamber of Commerce

2018 Gallup Visitors Guide

The City of Gallup and the Gallup McKinley Chamber of Commerce overhauled its visitors guide in 2018 to better feature the community assets and the local offerings. The revamped visitors guide emphasized the people of the Gallup community, and the role they all share with creating and preserving Gallup’s unique identity. The visitors guide provides information regarding everything a visitor would want to know, from restaurants and hotels to security information and regional maps. The visitors guide also does a nice job showcasing the people and businesses that drive the Gallup tourism economy. The visitor guides have been in such a high demand that an additional 5,000 guides needed to be ordered after the original 20,000 were distributed.

Tour of the Gila (Silver City)

Gila Monster Gran Fondo
Agency: SkyWest Media

Silver City has played host to the Tour of the Gila since 1987, which is regarded as one of the better mountain courses for cycling in the western U.S. The goal of this campaign was to increase amateur participation of out-of-town cyclists, and to increase awareness of Silver City as a cycling destination. The print campaign for this event featured the production of a 5×7 postcard and a 12×16 poster, along with a print ad for Zocalo Magazine and Desert Exposure. The collateral prominently featured the revamped logo and simple, yet relevant visuals. The copy was minimal and communicated the essential information. This print campaign aided in an increase of out-of-town visitors, and prolonged stays by those visitors. Eighty percent of participants who answered the evaluation survey were out-of-town, and 70% of those out-of-town participants stayed two nights.

Chamber of Commerce of Truth or Consequences and Sierra County

Sierra County Visitors Guide

The Chamber of Commerce of T or C and Sierra County worked hard to put together a very comprehensive visitors guide that features many of the businesses and tourism assets of the region. The visitors guide provides a great history of Truth or Consequences, Elephant Butte Lake, and the surrounding region. The visitors guide is a great example of a destination recognizing its identity and the strengths of its unique assets and sharing as much information about those assets as possible with prospective visitors.

Visit Albuquerque

Southwest the Magazine Special Section – Your Adventure in Albuquerque
Agency: McKee Wallwork + Co.

Visit Albuquerque worked with Southwest Airlines and their in-flight magazine to published a 26-page feature spread on everything Albuquerque. The 26-page feature required a lot of planning and input from many community partners with the goal to highlight many of Albuquerque’s newest and most unique attractions and travel experiences. The 26-page feature itself uses great visuals of Albuquerque’s landscape and events, and tells a great story of Albuquerque’s heritage and the the future the community is creating for itself. The campaign has yielded an estimated 5.5 million impressions for the month of August.

La Fonda on the Plaza

Spirit of Authenticity
Agency: Ideas and People

As one of Santa Fe’s most historic hotels and an anchor of the plaza district, La Fonda on the Plaza developed a print campaign that highlights its history and commitment to excellence that has been exemplified in its world-class hospitality for almost a century. The Spirit of Authenticity campaign sought to inform the target market of La Fonda’s rich history and reputation as an authentic New Mexico cultural destination. The campaign’s common theme – history, tradition, authenticity, craftsmanship and hospitality – were depicted with clean, aesthetic photography and smart composition. The campaign is attributed to a 10% increase in occupancy, and a 45% increase in revPAR.

Santa Fe

Wild West Flavor
Agency: HK Advertising

The goal of this campaign was three-fold for Santa Fe County: 1) build on the historic and cultural reputation; 2) appeal to travelers’ desire for immersive, local, authentic experiences; and 3) grow preference for Santa Fe County among active travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. Santa Fe County leveraged the brand identity and marketing co-op opportunities from New Mexico True to depict what makes Santa Fe County “true.” The photography captures the food and fashion of Santa Fe County, and the copy provides a succinct narrative that sparks the imagination.

Best Digital Campaign

Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum Foundation

Caribbean Cruise Raffle

A week-long Caribbean cruise was donated to the Balloon Museum Foundation by Rio Grande Travel for our fundraising purposes. They had 500 tickets to sell, their target was to sell all 500. The money that is raised from this raffle campaign goes toward the museum’s education and exhibit programs. Email marketing was the main form used to achieve their goal. Success was measured by the number of opens each email had after it was sent and by how many cruise raffle tickets ended up being sold. This resulted in approximately 450 raffle tickets sold, which was close to the target. Nearly $7,000 was raised for the Balloon Museum, which was a $2,000 increase from the cruise raffle the year before.

City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas Tourism

The City of Las Vegas decided to market the great Outdoor Adventures for their first in-house marketing campaign. The campaign goal would be to increase the number of visitors to the outdoor areas such as the Wildlife Refuge, Lakes, hiking trails, hot springs and the River walk. The message to be conveyed to their audience is that Las Vegas, NM is a place where the plains meet the mountains and the beauty extends throughout its surrounding areas. Visiting Las Vegas is more than Historic buildings and small towns, it is the hub for the outdoor adventures such as touring through Angel Fire, camping out in Pecos National Forest or riding motorcycles to Red River. Google Analytics were used to measure the overall details of the campaign through the website and social media analytics were used to measure the click through rate.


The City Different
Agency: Fuseideas

Santa Fe wanted to build awareness around the city as a a premier travel destination and generate increased visitation and engagement with the santafe.org website. The goals of the campaign were to achieve a 30% increase in media impressions, drive an increase of 24% in traffic to the campaign’s landing page, and contribute to growth in occupancy. The campaign was developed to communicate that Santa Fe is a unique, multi-sensory experience with a rich and authentic sense of place – from the adobe architecture to the collection of unique sights, sounds, tastes, interactions and feelings generated by the multi- cultural history and heritage of the city and its people.

Visit Albuquerque

The New VisitABQ.org
Agency: Simpleview Inc.

In November of 2017, Visit Albuquerque moved forward on an initiative to redesign their website and transition to a more modern Content Management System (CMS). The goals of the new website were to improve organic search traffic, present a user-friendly experience across devices/platforms, and communicate the city’s brand through high-impact design and imagery. The metrics for the campaign’s success were based off years of baseline metrics associated with past website iterations. Google Analytics plays a key role in regular reporting, and one of the items that had become a concern for Visit Albuquerque was Organic Traffic. Due to the fact that the previous website was not mobile-friendly, the site had been seeing consistent drops in search engine rankings and was not garnering the expected amount of organic search, which makes up a large amount of traffic to the site. Post website launch has been positive with consistent monthly year-over-year increases to organic traffic, including an unprecedented 37% increase in organic sessions for the month of June 2018. The same is true for mobile-specific organic traffic. This includes a 1,869% increase in Trip Builder interactions, 248% increase in eNewsletter sign-ups, 144% increase in events calendar searches, and a 13% increase in partner referrals.

Silver City

Tour of the Gila
Agency: SkyWest Media

The 32nd Annual Tour of the Gila concluded its five-stage race in April. Held in Silver City, the Tour of the Gila is considered the hardest race in North America and is the third largest race of its kind in North America. Cyclists compete over 5 days, with over 10,000 feet of climbing. This is a hallmark event to promote tourism to the region. For 2018, one very important focus was bringing the race live on Saturday for the downtown criterium to promote area and race awareness. The broadcast showcased Silver City with over 35,000 unique views across four channels that included Facebook Live, Tour of the Gila YouTube channel, and two websites. The significant change in the focus of the marketing initiatives was to promote the race to a wider demographic of participants. The race design, as well as promotions, was aimed at catering more to these amateur riders with the objective to bring more affluent riders from nearby cities. In addition to participant attendance, success was also measured through implementation of an economic impact survey and monitoring social media engagement and website metrics. The social media reach of the campaign showed success with a 40% increase in Facebook followers and an 84% increase in Instagram followers.

Best Social Media Campaign

Western New Mexico University (Silver City)

Fiesta Latina
Agency: SkyWest Media

The goal of this campaign was to promote awareness for the 2nd year of Fiesta Latina, which would aid in tourism to Silver City, NM, and drive economic expenditure in the region. The idea was to create excitement about the unique cultural art and artisans, some bringing their authentic wares from more than 1500 miles away into the United States. Through this excitement, to increase visitor attendance and event recognition as to its quality and uniqueness. Considerable research, time, and development of this campaign sought to focus on the unique artisans traveling so far to bring their art to our area. The campaign not only developed logos and consistent branding and design elements, the campaign extensively worked on sharing visuals on the artisans’ wares and their stories. From the beginning of the campaign to the end they saw a 700% increase in Facebook followers. From May 1 to June 18, there was a 300% increase of new users to the website with 3275 visits originating from Facebook. The amount of interaction achieved on Facebook was outstanding. Because the Facebook page has a lot of substantive content, the Facebook page was able serve as a significant information source in spreading awareness of the event.

Sunrise Springs Spa Resort

Seasonal Sunrise

Sunrise Springs Spa Resort utilized Instagram to increase overall presence and engagement with the Instagram community. #seasonalsunrise was an Insta-meet campaign that we organized seasonally, inviting 20 social media influencers to come experience our resort. With each meeting we gave the group a tour and created an agenda featuring our Spa and Experiential Activities. Each meeting was also a photo contest with the winning influencer receiving a gift certificate to the resort. #sunrisespringsin(seasonname) was coupled with the Insta-meets as a coinciding internal campaign. We circulated an informational card (attached) throughout the resort encouraging our guests to take photos of their experience and post to the hashtag as a photo contest. The winner received a gift certificate to the resort. Success of the campaign was measured by posts generated and number of likes and comments generated by those posts. The overall increase of Instagram followers during the campaign was also used as a metric, a 157% increase in followers occurred during the campaign.

Visit Albuquerque

Visit ABQ Instagram Stories Weekend Events Roundup

Visit Albuquerque’s use of Instagram stories goal was to find an engaging way to utilize a new feature within an existing social media platform that is useful and interesting to the end user while providing additional traffic to the Visit Albuquerque website. The images on their story provide information to followers about activities and events in Albuquerque and also solicit engagement. The success of the campaign is measured in Instagram Story slide views. This number gives a representation of how many users clicked on the Visit Albuquerque Instagram Story and viewed the information provided on each slide. Since their first Story on February 23, 2018 total views are at an impressive 27,848. For the period of February 23-June 30 year-over-year, website traffic referrals from Instagram went from 6 in 2017 to 1,589 in 2018. This is due to the fact that prior to the introduction of Stories, there was no easy or direct way to refer followers from Instagram content to a website.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

We Shall Continue

Over centuries Native Americans have faced incredible hardships brought about by invasion and colonization, and still wrestle with unique challenges in the present, like maintaining our cultures and languages in an increasingly global environment. It’s important to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center that they show the world what a vibrant living culture exists for Pueblo people, and that Pueblo culture is continuously evolving and active in the contemporary, global economy. This year IPCC launched the #WeShallContinue social-media campaign to educate people on the history and living culture of the Pueblo people, while showcasing cultural traditions and inspiring stories of resilience. #WeShallContinue is a platform for education and one for Native Americans to showcase their own stories the way they want them to be told. They wanted to share this knowledge digitally while also attracting visitors from more than 75 miles away. The Guest Experience team at IPCC showed that 75% of visitors this year are from 75 miles and away. Additional success of the campaign includes over 4 million people being reached through #WeShallContinue on Facebook, over 300,000 people we reached through #WeShallContinue on Instagram and Twitter.

Visit Taos

Yuletide in Taos Influencer Trip
Agency: The Waite Company

At the time, the @VisitTaos Instagram account was in severe need of help. For such a dynamic and stunning destination as Taos, the Instagram account wasn’t living to its full potential and did not accurately showcase the town’s beauty. The mission of the Yuletide influencer trip was to continue growth of the #VisitTaos hashtag, capture stunning imagery of Taos during winter and also increase engagement to Taos’ growing Instagram. The trip hosted four influencers from the Albuquerque metro area as well as key drive markets like Denver, Colorado and Lubbock, TX. The goals for this trip included 1) increasing engagement and followers to the Visit Taos Instagram account 2) increasing hashtag volume and curating high-quality content for the Visit Taos hashtag 3) adding photos to a Visit Taos visual library that was in short supply of Yuletide photos 4) highlighting Taos’ array of holiday offerings and celebrations to potential visitors. Within a month of the trip, Visit Taos had added 267 followers bringing the follower count from 2,676 to 2,943. Account engagement went from 1,976 to 2,943 engagements – an increase of 48.9%. Photos taken during the trip are still being used for Visit Taos marketing materials to this day and proved to be a cost efficient way to gather photos that have been used for Taos.org, visitors guides, social media, advertorials, editorial and more.

Most Innovative Campaign

Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau

Jolt Your Off Road Journey
Agency: Griffing & Associates / Xynergy

The Farmington Convention and Visitors Bureau launched this campaign with a very clear and defined focus: to grow the awareness of Farmington as a destination for off-roading, to attract off-road enthusiasts and leisure travelers to Farmington, and to increase attendance for the 2018 W.E. Rock Crawling Championship. This campaign was fully integrated, deploying marketing tactics across radio, billboards, social media and print. The campaign even included programmatic buy on Amazon, a full wall display in the Durango Airport and a PR campaign. The campaign resulted in increased web and social media traffic, and an increase in ticket sales for the W.E. Rock Crawling Championship by 22%.

Routes Bicycle Tours & Rentals

Old Town Shop & Win Content
Agency: Gilded Creative

Historic Old Town Albuquerque is a top landmark and attraction for visitors to the city. However, when it comes to locals, it can be a ghost town. It is particularly challenging around Thanksgiving weekend, one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year, when locals decide to spend their money almost everywhere but the tourist and historic district of Albuquerque, which is comprised 100% of local businesses. The purpose of this campaign was to drive local spending in Historic Old Town during Small Business Saturday. The measurables for this campaign were clearly defined, with indicators for participating businesses and net profit. The campaign leveraged local and national business partnerships very strategically, and the organic outreach behind the campaign resulted in an increase in sales of 22% compared to the previous year for Old Town businesses.


Santa Fe Margarita Trail App

The Santa Fe Margarita Trail app was developed and launched to enhance the experience of the Santa Fe Margarita Trail, which was originally launched May 5, 2016. The goal of the app was to help make the Margarita Trail more interactive, engaging, and easier for visitors and locals to find stops along the trail. The app also tracks user rewards, and provides a channel of communication to restaurant/bar owners on the trail. So far, over 1,000 people have downloaded the app. The app has been a particularly strong tool for travel writers who are experiencing Santa Fe, with 36 travel writers downloading and using the app during their trip.

Village of Jemez Springs

Soak it All In Photo Contest
Agency: InPress LLC

In 2015, the Village of Jemez Springs overhauled its branding and marketing strategy, condensed with the tagline: “Unplug. Reconnect. Soak it all in.” Staying committed to the tagline, the Village of Jemez Springs launched the Soak It All In photo contest for FY17/18 as strategy to increase brand awareness and visitor engagement. While the campaign was open for participation for all visitors, it was targeted towards amateur photographers to encourage the production of high quality depictions of the destination. The contest concluded with an exhibit of the entries, bringing the village tourism industry and the highly engaged visitors together.

Visit Albuquerque

2018 Elements of ABQ Press Trip
Agency: Turner PR

Public relations can be one of the most difficult strategic communications strategies to plan, deploy and measure – but if done effectively, can yield some of the greatest return for strategic communications practitioners. In an effort to highlight and secure positive media coverage of Albuquerque’s numerous outdoor recreational offerings, Visit Albuquerque and its partners coordinated a press trip with four noteworthy travel writers to visit the destination in June 2018. The press trip was framed around the theme of the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) with the intention that the group receives a more holistic experience of the Albuquerque area. The press trip has resulted in five national and international articles, more than 123 million impressions and more than $230,000 in estimated publicity value. The articles averaged a Barcelona Principle (quality coverage) score of 100, which grades significantly higher than the industry average.

Stay tuned as we announce the remaining 2018 Top HAT Awards!

Personnel Awards – Thursday, Sept. 27
Premier Awards – Friday, Sept. 28