Winning Visitors Over with Blues and Barbeque

Chicago Blues Festival Campaign for the Memphis CVB
Winning visitors over with Memphis blues and barbecue
Or, how a six-week, all-in campaign shook up a stale marketing practice—and gave this CVB the confidence to double its budget.


When Miles was selected as the new agency of record for Memphis CVB, we were hip-shakingly happy. But the deal was sealed mid-year, and the CVB’s media plan had long been on ice. We needed to create and execute a smart media plan. Quickly. And on a budget.


We knew we’d need to shake up stale moves. What had become standard practice for the CVB—marketing to too many targets—was diluting results and the CVB’s budget.

So what if we targeted one carefully-selected market? And what if we saturated that market with a hyper-targeted message?

Chicago “won,” with its direct flights to Memphis, shared tastes in food and music and a major event we could leverage: the Chicago Blues Festival.

Before we hit the road, we shared our plan with the state of Tennessee. The resulting co-op generated a bigger budget and a bigger idea—this all-in strategy layering digital media with on-the-ground activation:

  • Pre-festival, we built buzz for Memphis by:
    • Creating a video series emphasizing the tastes that Chicago and Memphis share, and delivering these as pre-roll ads to custom audiences online
    • Sponsoring a Spotify playlist with video integration
    • Taking Memphis to the streets of Chicago (we wrapped a food truck in Memphis and Tennessee branding, slung free Memphis barbecue from it and invited Memphis’ Southern Avenue band to perform live alongside)
  • At the festival, we kept the Memphis love coming by serving free spare ribs to anyone who’d share a photo via social media, unabashedly named "Share for a Spare"



During the activation, we served three times more barbecue than we expected to. During the six-week campaign, we:

  • Delivered 28.2 million verified digital impressions
  • Delivered 1.7 million video views
  • Generated 36% increase in site traffic to
  • Realized 1,400 conversions for our activation partners

By proving that proper funding can drive incremental visitation and visitor spending, we gave the CVB the confidence to amp up its marketing budget times three for the coming year. How’s that for a bonus track?

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