Wisconsin Department of Tourism Brings Home Gold at National Obie Awards, Earns Best in Show at Local Paragon Awards

MADISON, Wis. (May 22, 2013) – The Wisconsin Department of Tourism (WDT), along with its agency of record Laughlin Constable (LC), has been recognized for its marketing efforts this year on international,national and regional levels. Last night in Los Angeles, the Department was awarded a gold OBIE, the highest honor at the prestigious OBIE awards, recognizing excellence in out-of-home advertising by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. The Department was honored alongside such national brands as Sprite, Samsung Galaxy X, McDonald's, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Tropicana, GAP Inc., and others.

In addition, WDT and LC took home seven awards including “Best in Show” at the 2013 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Paragon Awards of Southeastern Wisconsin on May 21. “Best in Show” was won for the Department’s work on “The Big Bundle Up” charity mitten collection campaign in the winter of 2012.

“We market the state to grow jobs and the tourism economy for Wisconsin," said Wisconsin Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett. "But it's also rewarding for our team to receive affirmation from the marketing industry that our work is creative, original and effective. Receiving recognitions in the company of international brands, as well as receiving a ‘Best in Show’ local award, is an absolute honor for our team and the statewide tourism industry."

WDT also took home four international Communicator Awards on May 1, putting the total awards received since 2011 at 28, the most in the history of the Department, which first became a state agency in 1996.
The Department earned the following awards to date in 2013:

OBIE Award

Gold for “Fun. Courtesy of TravelWisconsin.com”

In downtown Chicago and Minneapolis, WDT executed bus stop advertisements where pedestrians became participants and “planted their feet in fun.” The out-ofhome advertisements featured a half size mirror, which reflected pedestrians from the waist up while the bottom half depicted the viewer in midst of a summer activity in Wisconsin, such as fishing. The result of the advertising was awareness and engagement, but most importantly, a moment of fun in an otherwise busy day.

PRSA Paragon Awards

“Best in Show” and Excellence for “Travel Wisconsin Helps Keep Wisconsinites Warm with ‘The Big Bundle Up’”

What started in 2011 as “mitten mania” with the state of Michigan, was revamped in 2012 by WDT and LC into an annual Wisconsin community relations campaign called, “The Big Bundle Up.” The result was a feel-good program that generated positive media coverage and collected 17,155 warm clothing items for Wisconsin families in need.

Excellance for "The Wisconsin Department of Tourism 2012 Media Relations Program"

WDT and LC used strategic media tactics to secure local, regional and national media placements. Components of the media relations plan included feature press releases, celebrity appearances and press conferences, proactive media pitching, deskside visits, in-studio TV interviews and press trips. Efforts generated more than 4,800 articles, 1.4 billion impressions and $59.3 million in PR value.

Excellence for “Travel Wisconsin Pairs Up with the Zucker Brothers to Film State Tourism Ads”

The WDT and LC teams strategically featured celebrities with Wisconsin ties in summer and fall TV commercials and used PR efforts to garner media coverage. David Zucker, Robert Hays, Jerry Zucker and Jordy Nelson worked with WDT and LC to film two TV commercials in 2012. PR efforts included a press conference and targeted pitching. Efforts were highly successful, generating national exposure, $5.9 million in earned media value and 129.2 million impressions.

Excellence for “Travel Wisconsin’s 2012 Press Kit”

The WDT and LC teams worked together to produce a creative, easy-to-read press kit for deskside meetings with top daily newspapers, magazines and travel freelancers in Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul. LC used strategic planning, creative ideas and sound media relations skills to develop a press kit that generated significant awareness of all the unique events, activities, attractions and destinations Wisconsin offers and, ultimately, caught the attention of the media.

Excellence for “Packers Dream Draft Sweepstakes”

WDT and LC developed a social media sweepstakes in partnership with the Green Bay Packers to increase awareness of the Travel Wisconsin brand and help increase opt-ins to the Wisconsin Traveler e-newsletter. Fans could enter on the Travel Wisconsin Facebook page to win four levels of prize packages. The sweepstakes was a big success with a 59 percent increase in entries over the previous year, a 58 percent e-newsletter optin rate and 14,755 new Facebook page likes acquired during the six-week sweepstakes period.

Merit for “Wisconsin State Highway Map”

WDT and LC were charged with concepting and designing the back side of the 2013-14 Official Wisconsin State Highway Map, through a partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. To help promote family fun travel in Wisconsin the team created interactive travel games to give the map a fresh, new look while keeping with the Travel Wisconsin brand of fun.

Merit for “Travel Wisconsin’s Social Media Strategy”

To encourage travelers to spend vacation dollars in Wisconsin, WDT and LC coordinated and published fun, informative and engaging content on Facebook, Twitter and a blog. The team fostered engagement through peer-to-peer conversations, an “always on” approach and by leveraging PR efforts and connections. The 2012 Facebook fan growth goal was exceeded by 41 percent, the Twitter follower growth goal was exceeded by 39 percent, and the blog visits goal was exceeded by 8 percent.

Communicator Awards

In addition to the aforementioned awards, WDT and digital agency partner Ascedia received four awards from the Communicator Awards, a leading international awards program recognizing big ideas in marketing and communications. WDT’s Fall Color Report website application garnered three Awards of Excellence for homepage, structure and navigation, and visual appeal as well as an Award of Distinction in the category of Websites-Government.

About the Awards


The OBIE Awards are presented by the Outdoor Advertising Federation of America (OAAA), the national trade association for the out of home (OOH) advertising industry. Founded in 1891, the association represents more than 90 percent of the US industry based on revenues. OAAA is dedicated to leading and uniting a responsible OOH industry committed to serving advertisers, consumers, and communities. The OOH industry generates $6.7 billion annually in ad revenues and donates more than $450 million in space each year. For more information, please visit www.oaaa.org.

PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin Paragon Awards

Created in 1983, the Paragon Awards honor outstanding local companies for excellence in the communications field, recognize outstanding work in the area of public relations, honor creative and strategic superiority and encourage a higher level of performance among public relations professionals. The Public Relations Society of America Southeastern Wisconsin chapter was founded more than 50 years ago by pioneering public relations professionals. The organization today consists of more than 300 members serving to advance networking and educational opportunities for communications professionals in the community.

Communicator Awards

The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program honoring creative excellence for communication professionals. Founded by communication professionals over a decade ago, The Communicator Awards is an annual competition honoring the best in advertising, corporate communications, public relations and identity work for print, video, interactive and audio. This year’s Communicator Awards received thousands of entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world. Visit www.communicatorawards.com for more information.

About the Wisconsin Department of Tourism

The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at: www.travelwisconsin.com.

About Laughlin Constable

Laughlin Constable has been providing integrated marketing services to its clients for more than 35 years. With offices in Chicago, Milwaukee, New York and New Jersey, the agency provides Full Circle Branding solutions to include brand strategy, digital marketing, digital development, advertising, design, public relations, and media research, planning and buying. Its annual billings are in excess of $260 million. The agency's clients include: the Bon-Ton Retail Group, GE Healthcare, Lung Cancer Alliance, Master Lock, MillerCoors, SABMiller, A&E, the USA Network, McDonald’s Restaurants of Southeastern Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. For more information, please visit www.laughlin.com.

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