I could see the rides. I could hear the midway game barkers. I could smell the french fries and…well…the horses that apparently had their dinner earlier that day. It all seemed so far away even though were were close. My five-year-old feet were tired from walking to the entrance from the enormous parking area. But it didn’t matter. I was going into the Canfield Fair.
To me, a child of the suburbs, the Fair was an amazing place. It still is. The memories of our annual visits are some of the best of my childhood. Our research showed that most people felt that way. So even though we updated the website and added social media and interactive features…it’s memories that fuel the Fair’s marketing.
You’ll hear it in the TV spots we developed for the Fair — It’s the Valley’s Most Cherished Fall Tradition. Indeed, listen to most folks talk about their experiences, and you’ll always hear a smile in their voice and see one on their face. Everyone has a story…from visits when they were kids to the trips made with teenage friends and even dates. In fact, I heard more than one story of “Our Fair Kid” — the child that was supposedly conceived by amorous parents who stayed in the camping area or even the hay lofts during the Fair.
Marketing Recalls Memories
How do you keep the Fair relevant to today’s adults and teens? YOU DON’T. You just communicate what is already there. It IS relevant. All we needed to do was help the Fair communicate better with a more advanced website, along with social media and sponsorship opportunities.
Our advertising and social media focused on memories of what people love about the Fair— family, friends, food and fun. When we post on Facebook that we just ate a sandwich and ask for suggestions for desserts, we get 60-80 responses in a minute. Everyone has a favorite.
New – The Best Of Fair Contest
This year we take “FAVORITES” to a new level. PNC Bank is sponsoring our first annual BEST OF FAIR contest. Yep, like American Idol, only tastier and more fun.
This year, you can vote for your favorite Sandwich, French Fry, Treat, Game and Ride. You can vote on the Fair’s website. Or if you have a smart phone of any type, you can vote right at the Fair. Participating vendors have posters that say “Vote for Me” on them. You can get to the voting page by scanning the QR CODE on the vendor’s poster, or you can simply type in the web address.
You’ll see a real-time tally of votes for your favorite. Voting will start when the Fair opens and continue until close of the Fair Sunday night. On Labor Day, the winners in each category will receive an award from PNC Bank.
It should be fun, so be sure to sample all five categories and vote.
Return To Childhood
They say you can’t go home again. I don’t know about that, but you can revisit your childhood memories of the Fair by visiting again this year. Maybe you’ll be bringing your own 5-year-old this time. If so, do him or her a favor…pick them up and carry them in!
See you at The Fair!