Turner PR

Putting a Fresh Spin on Albuquerque’s Icons

Journalists love the word “new.” But what if a destination doesn’t have a fresh attraction or hot event this year? Then it’s time to look at existing assets and see how they might fit into a macro consumer trend or pop cultural shift. Leveraging some amazing established tourism institutions, TURNER garnered national press with an unlikely hook: Geek Chic.

WHAT WE DID

In recent years, the tech-savvy, sci-fi-loving, Comic-Con nerd has gone from social pariah to ahead-of-the-curve trendsetter. All of a sudden, geeks are chic. As a result, TURNER saw an opportunity to highlight Albuquerque’s many geek-friendly attractions.

TURNER designed a geek-themed FAM trip for Albuquerque, inviting some top journalists and bloggers to experience some of the offbeat treasures of the city. In an action-packed journey, they toasted a ghost on a haunted pub crawl; they learned all about the amazing science behind the lavender distillery process at a historic inn/organic farm; they got a Breaking Bad-inspired “Blue Ice” demonstration from the Candy Lady; they took a hot air balloon flight into the clouds. At every turn hyper-local guides (who were sometimes outside the traditional tourism community) greeted the group, giving authentic insight into what makes Albuquerque “Albu-Quirky.” The guides included:

  • Troy Bradley – An adventurer who holds the most world records for hot air ballooning (more than 60!).
  • Larry Crumpler – A scientist who is actively involved in the headline-grabbing Mars Rover expeditions.
  • The Salsa Twins – The guys behind the famed El Pinto salsa shared how they use worm factories and engineering to create their highly acclaimed salsa. Seriously.
  • Christine Anderson – Before it opened to the public, the CEO of Spaceport America led a private tour of the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, which has made Albuquerque the basecamp city for future space travelers.

An added bonus? The FAM trip kicked off on May 4th – the international day of Star Wars celebration (“May the fourth be with you”). Because, after all, geeks are all about the details.

RESULTS

Albuquerque’s Geek FAM resulted in a diverse range of travel media coverage in non-travel outlets that reached target visitor audiences, such as GeekDad (a WIRED Magazine blog), Atlas Obscura (a trendsetting tastemaker outlet that explores the odd, weird and unknown), Vagabondish (a leading travel and lifestyle blog) and Adventures by Daddy (a family oriented blog written by a biochemist). Along with more traditional placement, the FAM put Albuquerque on the radar of travelers who might not have otherwise known about the city’s geekier side.