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Project Insight: County Fairs


A massive marketing campaign engineered to draw more people and their dollars to county and local fairs across New York State this summer is underway. The state Department of Agriculture and Markets has tasked ABC Creative with building the buzz that will attract fairgoers.

Bit of background: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature set aside $2 million for the Department of Agriculture and Markets to promote county and local fairs, which are powerful economic drivers in communities of all sizes across the state. We partnered with the department on the marketing campaign at the core of the initiative.

We began by developing the messaging focused on nostalgia and fun that would resonate with New Yorkers. County fairs have been community staples for more than two centuries, a legacy anchored by its roots in agricultural competition and demonstrations. We integrated this legacy in the positioning of these fairs as memorable experiences rather than just events. We wrapped the tagline “Never Far from Fun” around this powerful experience as a nod to the fact that there are so many fairs across the state, fairgoers are bound to find one – in most cases several – nearby.

We developed content that would engage each segment of a very broad target audience from couples to families and teens to seniors. The 30-second version illustrates how the county fair caters to a variety of interests, inviting viewers to find their favorite food, rides, music, agricultural attractions and more. A call to action was wrapped up in the URL findyourfair.com, where we expanded on each of these interests with tons of imagery, copy and video. As the address suggests, the website includes a database of every county and local fair in the state – there are upward of 50 – that users could locate by punching in their zip code to find those events nearest to them.

Our messaging integrated the invite to attend multiple fairs – not just those in their home county – something that was reinforced by the Department of Agriculture and Markets’ new passport program we promoted as part of the campaign. The NYS Fairs Passport rewards serial fairgoers with commemorative items unique to each event they attend this season.

We blanketed the state with media as part of a strategy that included broadcast, digital and social advertising tactics. We established and maintain a strong social media presence that not only delivers ads, but foster engagement and boost awareness on an organic level.

Because these fairs are so focused on agriculture and require the participation of exhibitors to be successful, ABC also crafted a campaign aimed specifically at the ag industry. This precisely targeted effort urged farmers and others to get involved, again utilizing a dedicated page of the website to connect exhibitors with fair organizers so they could get involved.

We took a comprehensive approach to the project’s ultimate goal to increase attendance, developing resources that fair organizers could use to promote their individual event. We created hundreds of customized resources for each of the 50-plus fairs that organizers could download, print and utilize locally to add an extra layer to this pervasive promotion.

This well-rounded approach is typical for ABC as we use creative assets and strategy to cover every conceivable angle, all unified behind the research and resulting positioning at the core.

About The Author

A journalist by trade, Shane tells stories that connect brands with target audiences and inspire them to act. He’s a writer, not a copy machine, and that approach brings exceptional content to every print or digital piece he pens.

Shane taps into his past as a reporter and editor to develop clear messages that resonate in every medium, be it blog or brochure, sponsored content or script.

Daily newspapers developed a habit for idea generation, attention to detail and knack for question-asking. His background as a magazine and web editor keeps client communications grammatically sound and effective.

Shane’s word-based deliverables range from long-form features to concise digital copy to persuasive prose. He’s been on both sides of the PR pitch and puts some muscle behind ABC’s media relations.