Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square

Ripley’s: “We Want a Media Frenzy.”  Redpoint:  “Say Cheese!"

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Each year, President’s Week is one of the highest potential traffic weeks at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Times Square, as city-bound (and often snowbound) parents plot for things to occupy their kids over the school break.  This makes it the ideal time for Ripley’s to grab the media spotlight, putting a visit to the Odditorium top-of-mind for parents who want to inspire their children’s imagination.  But NYC-area media are a tough bunch of folks to interest, so we knew we needed a highly visual news hook to leverage the President’s Day angle with a compelling reason why visitors should go to Ripley’s NOW.

We crafted the idea to create an “unbelievable” sculpture of Mount Rushmore – with a Ripley’s twist – using a 160-pound, six foot long block of solid cheddar cheese.  Some seriously interesting research helped us discover “The Cheese Lady," Wisconsin-born dairy farmer Sara Kaufmann, who is a “Master Cheese Sculptor” (believe it) as a full time career.  We worked with her to design the sketches for a Ripley’s-themed Mount Rushmore (a spike driven up Lincoln’s nose, Roosevelt as a shrunken head, etc.) to ensure maximum Ripley’s branding.  We also secured renowned cheese maker Cabot Creamery to donate the massive cheese block and provide tasting samples in exchange for PR and onsite branding. Local print and online media were pitched several weeks in advance with interviews for Sarah, and TV/radio stations were pitched the week prior.

The delicious results?  The two day event, during which visitors could watch the sculpture being carved onsite, was featured as a “Hot Pick” in the New York Post, including an interview with Sarah, and selected as a “Critics’ Pick of the Week” in both the print and online editions of Time Out New York.  Broadcast coverage of the event “in action” was strong, with TV segments on NBC TODAY Weekend, MSNBC, and WPIX-TV, and radio segments aired multiple times on 1010 WINS-AM, WCBS-AM 880 News, WBBR-AM Bloomberg Radio, and more.  Online coverage was extensive, with features and listings on Time Out New York Kids, Big Apple Parent, New York Family, City Guide New York, Cheap Eats, and many more, including a Reuters syndicated photo.  Total print circulation/broadcast viewer/listenership for this two-day event exceeded 10 million people in the New York area, and online VPM exceeded 80 million.  Best of all?  The attraction reported that visitor count to the Odditorium over President’s Day 2013 was the highest total ever achieved since opening its doors in 2007.