Following up last year’s Gold Adrian Award for our Visit North Carolina Firsts That Last® campaign, LGA has earned a Platinum Adrian Award for our #CAREolinas effort aimed at demonstrating unity between North and South Carolina in the face of 2018’s devastating Hurricane Florence.

The campaign was selected from among 99 Gold Award winners in the public relations category of the competition, sponsored by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International. There were more than 1,100 total entries in this year’s Adrian Awards, regarded as the world’s largest and most prestigious travel marketing competition.

Two mobile phones on a wooden background displaying #CAREolinas Instagram posts

The idea for #CAREolinas sprang suddenly, inspired by an editorial cartoon posted by USA Today that showed North and South Carolina huddling together as the storm approaches. Within 12 hours our team created an Instagram post featuring an illustration of the Carolinas replacing the usual border with a message of hope and togetherness: “we share more than a state line.”

With buy-in from our clients at Visit North Carolina and their counterparts at Discover South Carolina, that initial idea mushroomed within days 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 NFL’s Carolina Panthers were getting behind the effort.

The purely 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 approximately $140,000 for relief efforts to help the people of North and South Carolina recover – together – from the storm’s crippling impact.

Two cell phones behind held up by hands displaying #CAREolinas content