Aiken, South Carolina faced several key challenges. It wasn’t a well-known visitor destination outside of the equestrian community, its experiences hadn’t really evolved in decades, and the local community didn’t fully understand the value of tourism.


Society is so caught up in keeping up with the times that many people have
forgotten what is most important — enjoying who you are.


Let’s show travellers that the best way to escape is to stay true to yourself.


Instead of hiding the fact that Aiken does not have the reputation of a modern metropolis, we decided to reframe the story and show that Aiken’s genuine dedication to Staying True is a trait that people can relate to and be proud of. We set out to demonstrate that this city trots to a different beat — its own — and that we can all do with a little more of this conviction.

The campaign’s objective was twofold: to inspire travellers to experience the liberation of staying true to themselves, and to create advocacy within the local community by giving people a voice to rally behind. We began by reactivating a dormant social media community and asking for uplifting stories of how a stay-true experience in Aiken made a profound difference. The response was both overwhelming and instant. We received responses not only from locals but from many visitors eager to share their experiences.

Next, we selected the two stories that received the most engagement and used them to front our integrated campaign. One was the story of Julien Daniels, a pro polo player who came to Aiken in the ’80s from the U.K. and never left. The other was of pro golfer George Bryan, known for his trick shots and his intimate knowledge of the local course.

We created a short film about each personality, sharing the passions to which they stayed true and describing how all of Aiken could follow suit. The short films and personalities appeared in out-of-home, social media and various 15-second ad placements. The films were supported by various messages that reflected all the different aspects of the Aiken experience.

In the end, we showed that when you stay true to what you love, that brand of fun never goes out of style.