In July 2018, California reopened the iconic Highway 1 after 18 months of closures caused by severe storms and mudslides, which resulted in a tremendous loss of travel-related spending along the corridor as travelers rerouted their itineraries.
To celebrate the full reopening of Highway 1, Visit California organized an activation for an exclusive group of journalists and influencers in August 2018: Dream Drive. As a nod to 84 years of Highway 1, a caravan of more than 80 automobiles from 1934 to 2018 drove down the coast from Monterey County to San Luis Obispo County.
Dream Drive was just one component of the global campaign directed by Visit California and executed by various domestic and international agency partners, with NJF as the U.S. public relations agency of record.
The goal of the campaign was to drive the number of visitations to the affected region by raising awareness of the reopening of Highway 1 and highlighting affected tourism partners throughout the Central Coast. NJF quickly mobilized media relations and reached out to targeted media to secure regional and national print, broadcast and digital coverage around the Dream Drive activation. We also strove to position and establish California as the premier road trip destination in the U.S.
NJF secured nine top-tier journalists and three bloggers and social media influencers to experience Dream Drive firsthand. The selected writers published stories covering the reopening of Highway 1, the drive and the destination.
The NJF team also coordinated travel arrangements for the participants, staffed the event, and organized post-event press trip itineraries for some of the participants to amplify the messaging surrounding Dream Drive. We distributed media alerts, issued a press release via a national newswire and shared social image content with digital media editors.
NJF secured coverage around Dream Drive in top U.S. outlets, including Lonely Planet, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Afar, Robb Report, Fodor’s, USA Today, Popsugar, CBS This Morning, the Today show and TravelAge West.
Each of the 48 total media placements shared the news of Highway 1’s reopening, and many also covered the historic convoy. Our total estimated ad value was $2.2 million, with a total of 142 million impressions and an ROI of 88:1.
The influencer participants generated three blog posts and 96 social media posts, garnering 27,700 social engagements and 2.5 million total impressions for $25,000 in total media value.