[Jan 10, 2018, 8:49 PM]
RALEIGH, N.C. — Visit North Carolina was recognized Tuesday by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International with a Platinum Adrian Award for the #CAREolinas campaign, which was created in partnership with South Carolina as Hurricane Florence approached. It was Visit NC’s first Platinum Adrian Award, which is given to the best campaigns among 99 Gold Award winners.
Born from the idea that North and South Carolina share more than a state line, #CAREolinas started as a social media post and quickly became a unifying movement to show support and raise money and resources for recovery. Visit NC’s original Instagram post featured an illustration of the two Carolinas replacing the usual border with a message of hope and togetherness: "We share more than a state line."
With Discover South Carolina joining in, the initial idea expanded into a website where visitors could donate toward recovery efforts, leave messages of support, purchase special T-shirts or see how partners ranging from Hendrick Motorsports and Childress Vineyards to the Carolina Panthers were behind the effort. Visit NC worked to ensure that the campaign received regional and national media coverage to help connect and amplify efforts across the two states.
"The purpose of the #CAREolinas campaign was to exemplify that North and South Carolina were 'back open' and welcoming to all visitors," said Wit Tuttell, Visit NC’s executive director. "It was done to connect stories and recovery efforts as the Carolinas unified to rebound from Hurricane Florence. #CAREolinas served as an information hub for hurricane recovery, bringing neighbors together across state lines to share, connect and support relief efforts."
The organic campaign was hugely successful, with more than 34,000 website visits, 94,000 engagements with the #CAREolinas hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, and millions of earned media and social impressions. Most important, the effort raised $140,000 to help North and South Carolina residents recover together from the 2018 storm's crippling impact.
The Adrian Awards were presented Tuesday during the HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala in New York. The Adrian Awards are the largest and most prestigious global travel marketing competition.