CASE STUDY

Louisiana
Renaissance
Festival

hen our team first met Alvon, it was obvious at the outset that our partnership with the Louisiana Renaissance Festival (“LARF” for short) would be a lot of things—crazy, fun, maybe a little weird—but we knew for sure it WOULDN’T be boring.
Every autumn tens of thousands of people flock to the Village of Albright for a literal blast from the past. During the six-week-long affair, visitors enjoy hundreds of artisan shops, educational demonstrations, and professional entertainers straight out of the 16th century. Within this blip in the fabric of spacetime, it’s not likely you’ll have trouble finding things to do. We’d venture to say it’s impossible.

K

Total followers

%

Increase in engagement over previous season
Simply put, LARF is amazing. For that reason alone, the faire has no issue attracting attention. A quick audit of their Facebook Page makes it abundantly clear that die-hard fans eat, sleep, and breathe RenFest.
till, LARF’s unique brand of entertainment can transcend its particular niche. Casual fans of faire are poised as a key growth opportunity—and, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a cosplay enthusiast to have a great time. So when Alvon came to 5 Stones, his primary objective for us was to get more people through his gates.

Having worked with LARF the year prior, our team had a good, practical understanding of the festival. That experience proved to be quite advantageous, allotting us the opportunity to delve deeper into the core of what makes RenFest so special.

It may not sound particularly insightful, but… *drumroll*... we’ve found that “secret sauce” to be the people behind it all. We had to make a few totally professional, not-fun-at-all site-visits just to be sure, and unsurprisingly, we were right on the money. ;-)



With that in mind, it became our goal to make it easy for newcomers to understand who and what LARF is all about, without neglecting (or alienating) current patrons. Our sights were set on finding novel ways to capture attention and communicate the vastness of RenFest well enough to sell tickets.
Multiple graphics were made to promote ticket sales for LARF
ust as our team began to plan creative and piece together a marketing calendar, disaster struck. Faire (and the surrounding area at large) was hit by two major, once-in-a-lifetime flood events. We quickly adapted our message to flood recovery efforts, and drove patrons to donate and volunteer time to help put LARF back on track. Around this time it had also become vitally important for us to reassure the public that RenFest would proceed as scheduled. Once things began to stabilize, we were able to resume our original plans for promoting the 2016 faire season.
et’s face it: humans are social creatures. It’s hard for us to imagine being in a situation without an obvious visual cue. The simple addition of a person in a photograph can change its tone from “I’d never do that” to “Well that looks fun” in an instant.
We’re also programmed to like flashy things. Here’s a quick thought experiment you can do to prove it: Would you be more likely to notice a static photo of a falcon, or a GIF of that same falcon swooping in and landing on a handler’s arm? Yeah, it’s a toughie, but we’d place our bets on the latter option.

Because of this, our content strategy emphasized two things, (1) people and (2) motion. The focus on moving content provided us literal flexibility in selling the experience of “the best festival in history” through audience immersion: something particularly useful for first-timers unsure of what to expect from faire.
onsequently, video content played a vital role in our game plan. After countless strategy sessions, coffee-fueled storyboarding meetings, and a few existential crises, we made our way out to faire with a mission to boil down its essence into bite-sized chunks.

Our team spent weekend after weekend collecting clips of what would become GIFs of duelists dueling, ads with princesses ordering pumpkin spice lattes, and a rather popular silent-but-signed video invitation.


For delivery we met LARF’s audience where they were—online. Each campaign was integrated across a variety of ad networks and social platforms, including email, Facebook, Google Ads, Instagram, and YouTube.

social posts

14

videos produced

30%

email open rate

125

graphics created

So, how’d everything go?

SURPRISE! Our content strategy worked brilliantly. We successfully engaged LARF’s existing audience while simultaneously exposing RenFest to a plethora of new fans. Both user segments loved the creative, evidenced by frequent positive social feedback.

On Facebook alone we reached more than 2 million users and generated 200k video views, driving over 75k customers directly to the “buy tickets” page on LARF’s website. Email marketing resulted in nearly 15k opens, sending an additional 2.5k clicks to the LARF website.

Ultimately LARF saw growth in overall attendance with more than 70k attendees rounding out the 2016 faire season.

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13 million impressions

K

ad clicks

email open rate

new facebook followers

K

COMMENTS, REACTIONS, & SHARES

+

more visitors than last year

“5 Stones has been really thorough, not just with what they’re doing for us but with the whole brand... They’re aware of what’s going on with my company, they have your back in more than one way.. They’re worried about the big picture, they’re worried about your company really...It’s not just a flat service of here’s your product, goodbye. It seems to be a little more intrinsic to who and what you are.”

- Alvon Brumfield, CEO Louisiana Renaissance Festival

We don’t like to play favorites at 5 Stones, but RenFest will always have a special place in our hearts for being SO. MUCH. FUN. We’re also extremely proud of the creative we were able to produce in such a short amount of time, staying agile even in the face of a few major setbacks from mother nature. Alvon and his team are a pleasure to work with, and his festival always brings out the best in our already-stellar team.