Indianapolis has long been regarded as a lethargic, low-key Midwestern city with not much more to offer than ‘a 500-mile speedway race and 364 days of mini-golf,’ as Kurt Vonnegut famously penned. Indiana’s capital was staked with the dubious task of discarding its sleepy image and reputation and broadcasting a town worthy of hosting the largest sporting event in the United States. With a citywide makeover and social media-focused approach, they succeeded in spades, and proved that proper PR works for cities, too.
In preparation for 150,000 visitors descending upon Indianapolis to watch the Patriots and Giants compete in Super Bowl XLVI, the city undertook a massive rebranding and renovation effort, transforming the downtown area into a football fanatic’s Shangri-La. A three-block Olympian-style village was constructed on previously downtrodden streets, complete with interactive zones and zip-lines crisscrossing above Indy’s urban landscape.
Where Indianapolis really nailed it was employing staffers with the sole purpose of monitoring social media outlets for Super Bowl related trends. Personnel observed the likes of Facebook and Twitter for any mishaps such as traffic-jams or ticket calamities and dispatched the appropriate authorities to immediately rectify any potential problems. The utilization of these online mediums provided for seamless customer care and a minimal-stress environment for the throngs of sports enthusiasts invading the city.
The revitalization of downtown Indy made for a fantastic Super Bowl setting, and will prove an excellent choice for this year’s annual NSA convention (which PR/PR will be attending.) It was a precarious decision by the NFL to bring the Super Bowl to such a small media-market, but the immediate benefit and positive impact on Indianapolis is proof that a well-planned public relations strategy can ensure success. This modest town was converted into football mecca, and PR/PR cannot wait to see the enhancements in person this summer. We’ll see you in Indianapolis!
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