The DEN Files
Denver International Airport
The Great Hall renovation project at Denver International Airport (DEN) would inevitably cause a disruption to a passenger’s typical airport experience. We needed to make sure the construction wasn’t just an inconvenience, but also a chance for travelers to learn about the project and maybe even laugh a little.
- Integrated Strategy
- Creative Strategy Development & Implementation
- Social and PR
- Out of Home
Create construction signage that speaks to the project in a way that engages and informs travelers while piquing their interest. DEN has long been known for its crazy conspiracy theories, so we embraced them through creative that gave DEN a personality that’s unique to the airport itself.
Using the construction walls around the airport as opportunities to engage and inform travelers, we opened up the DEN Files as a way to raise awareness. We caught their attention with visually interesting signage, then encouraged them to learn more about the project by visiting DENFiles.com and invited them to share their photos using the social tag #DENFiles.
DEN Files got people excited and exploded across social media. So, to celebrate Denver International Airport’s 24th birthday, we decided to bring one of the conspiracies to life, creating an animatronic gargoyle that interacted travelers in real time. We filmed the hilarious interactions and shared the videos, which once again went viral.
Without spending a cent on paid media, The DEN Files has generated 704,739,069 impressions and counting, valued at over $8 million. The wide-ranging coverage highlights how you can turn lemons into lemonade, and you can turn a nightmare construction project into a viral dream come true with the proven ROI to convince any skeptic.
Our talking gargoyle reached over 67 million people for a publicity value of over $1.9 million and was covered in 700+ new stories.
The DEN Files immediately caught traction, even being dubbed “the Most Clever Ad Campaign of the Year.”
Awareness of the campaign and the construction project have both increased and the social tag #DENFiles remains active and is growing organically every day. YouTube channels continue to eat it up, fueling the fire with conspiracy theories of their own. To date, there have been nearly 200 local, national and international articles covering the campaign, including:
- Travel + Leisure
- The Guardian
- CNN Travel
- The New Zealand Herald
- South China Morning Post
Meanwhile, Twitter and Instagram continue to pour in more posts with praise like:
“Denver airport is undergoing MAJOR construction! Huge high five to the marketing team who came up with this concept for trying to keep the stressful atmosphere funny!!!”
“If this doesn’t capture what Denver is all about, I don’t know what does.”
“This is what marketing is all about: embracing what makes your brand unique and getting people talking.”
“This is exactly the kind of strange and interesting things more brands should be doing with advertising.”
The talking gargoyle is causing quite a stir on his own, hitting the pages of Adweek and appearing in dozens of other TV, print and digital media outlets, including the New York Post, USA Today, Fox News and The Drum, to name a few.
The DEN Files campaign was awarded a Silver Addy at the 2019 District American Advertising Awards competition and is in the running for Nationals.
And, even amidst construction, DEN ranked as the fourth-best airport in North America and took the seventh spot out of the world's best regional airports from Skytrax World Airport Awards.