Customer stories

HZ makes waves with campaign to promote National Aquarium

In 2017, HZ — a creative agency specializing in branding, marketing, digital and content—was tasked with creating an integrated campaign to increase ticket sales for the National Aquarium.

The National Aquarium is a nonprofit organization located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It is one of the top attractions in the state of Maryland, attracting 1.3 million annual visitors, and more than 54 million total visitors since opening in 1981. The Aquarium is consistently ranked as one of the top three aquariums in the United States.

The National Aquarium faced unique challenges — a diverse set of audiences, an abundance of family-friendly competition in the area and small windows of opportunity caused by school schedules and holiday breaks. HZ was tasked with creating a campaign that could be appreciated by all audiences, stand out in the tourism industry and grow general admission attendance numbers.

The result was a campaign called “The Water Is Calling” — a celebration of the primal connection between humans and the ocean. “We positioned the Aquarium not just as an attraction — but as a moving, essential experience,” said Ron Thompson, Executive Creative Director at HZ. Deeply poetic messaging, paired with surrealistic visual styling that weaves together dreams and reality, shapes each execution.

HZ leveraged an integrated approach to ensure that “The Water Is Calling” met the right audiences in the right places. This media mix included cable and digital television buys, magazine placements, digital and social advertising, paid search and a heavy out-of-home presence in target markets.

Efforts resulted in the following:

  • 7% growth in e-commerce conversion rate
  • 8% growth in online ticket sales
  • 135,000 ticket intents recorded

“The Water Is Calling” won Best Media and Public Relations Campaign Award at the 2018 Maryland Travel Tourism Summit; a Gold ADDY from the American Advertising Federation of Baltimore; and Grand MX Campaign of the Year and Best Social Media Campaign of the Year at the American Marketing Association Baltimore MX awards.

See how HZ uses Hightail to streamline its creative review and approval processes in this short video.

National Aquarium

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