Royal Sonesta Greasing of the Poles 2021
Royal Sonesta New Orleans has hosted its annual Greasing of the Poles event for over fifty years. Originated as a practical means to deter overzealous revelers from shimmying up to the hotel’s coveted balcony space, the ritual of greasing the building’s support poles has evolved into a time-honored tradition that is considered by many to be the official kickoff to Mardi Gras weekend. When COVID-19 safety guidelines threatened the cancellation of the 2021 celebration, creativity and technology helped reimagine the event so the show could go on.
Zehnder created an overarching theme that positioned Royal Sonesta New Orleans as the premier destination to celebrate carnival traditions, keeping safety at the forefront.
Greasing of the Poles is synonymous with New Orleans Mardi Gras. Canceling was not an option, so creative solutions were necessary. Zehnder created a plan to allow revelers from across the globe to celebrate Greasing in the comfort and safety of their homes. The event moved to the hotel’s interior courtyard, featured masked contestants who greased poles that were safely distanced over six feet apart and was live-streamed via the Royal Sonesta New Orleans Facebook page.
Strategic messaging and strong media support were critical to the success of virtual Greasing. Zehnder executed a detailed public relations plan promoting the event utilizing traditional media tactics. But we didn’t stop there. Zehnder created engaging social media content to invite audiences far and wide to the virtual viewing party. We made the public part of the show, creating a contest for individuals to submit a video showing off their best Mardi Gras moves. The prize? Becoming a part of history as an official Greasing of the Poles contestant.
Zehnder identified and secured strategic partnerships with social media sites and influencers, extending Greasing coverage to their targeted audiences. And wow, did our partners deliver. Not only did influencers share the hotel’s social media posts to their channels, but they created their own custom content, engaging their fans and generating buzz for all things Greasing.
Thanks to strong media relationships, many of our traditional media partners gave Greasing extra attention by sharing the live-stream to their social pages and engaging with their followers real-time throughout the event.
Media coverage includes earned media value of $272,054.93 with 72 hits across all major Louisiana markets as well as national online and broadcast outlets. Through TV network affiliate feeds, viewers from Florida to Ohio, New York to California and even Fargo, North Dakota were treated to Greasing news.
All combined traditional media garnered 336,038,940 unique views.
Through strategic social media and influencer partnerships, Greasing news reached a combined audience of over 239,500 followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The Greasing of the Poles live stream event secured over 52,000 views with audiences joining from across the United States, Canada and Switzerland which is home to the official Greasing of the Poles International Fan Club.