Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Takes Flight with Unprecedented National Media Coverage

Challenge: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF) is an annual nine-day event, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that is recognized as the world’s premier ballooning event. For the 41st event, The Garrity Group was engaged to handle all traditional and digital media relations (the Balloon Fiesta was one of the firm’s first clients when The Garrity Group opened its doors in 1997). With growing competition from ballooning events world-wide, our goal was to make Balloon Fiesta new again to media and guests.

Solution:  To reach more guests and potential visitors, our team developed an integrated media relations approach to target traditional and digital outlets. Creative tactics included highly personalized individual media pitches to top national publications, and a renewed focus on the visual splendor of Balloon Fiesta. Our targeted pitching focused on securing stories in publications that hadn’t covered Balloon Fiesta in many years, if at all.

Results: Through individualized media pitches, The Garrity Group secured more than 200 new media hits including: NBC Rock Center, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian Magazine, New York Post, CBS News, and the Travel Channel. The Weather Channel provided a day of dedicated coverage live from Balloon Fiesta. Digital efforts generated more than 560 online stories about Balloon Fiesta on sites like National Geographic, CondeNast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Yahoo News. 


2000 Cumbre Best of Show Award, Public Relations Society of America New Mexico Chapter