Tennessee Tourism Offers Free Tickets to Garth Brooks Show in Snapchat Launch

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Credit: Courtesy VML

In an effort to engage more millennials and Gen X-ers, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development has launched a Snapchat account and will offer 5,500 free tickets to a show in Nashville hosted by country music star Garth Brooks.

By following @Tennessee on Snapchat, fans can access a code for two free tickets to the show, which is a celebration around Mr. Brooks becoming the first recording artist in history to earn seven Diamond Certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America. All seven of Mr. Brooks albums, which have each sold more than 10 million copies, were recorded or produced in Nashville.

When the tourism board started looking at Snapchat, it noticed that unique experiences on the platform really resonate with millennials and Gen X, so it "made sense to combine our assets and experiences with that group and add this to our social media channels," said Kevin Triplett, commissioner of tourist development in Tennessee. He said bringing together Snapchat's large user base and "an artist with the following of Garth Brooks opens the door for us to another level." Last week at Advertising Week in New York, Snapchat said it now has 60 million daily users in the U.S.

Along with giving away tickets, Tennessee Tourism will push out Garth Brooks-related content on Snapchat starting on October 3, according to Allison Pierce, group creative director at VML, which has served as AOR for the state since February 2014. The content will include segments and videos with Bobby Bones, host of iHeartMedia's "The Bobby Bones Show," about Mr. Brooks' seven albums as well as "a cool piece at The Bluebird Café," where the singer was discovered, said Ms. Pierce. She added that Snapchat will be the main content hub, but some content will live on Facebook, Instagram and the tourism website to reach a wider audience. Tennessee will also have filters at different places in the state that are meaningful to Mr. Brooks. The budget for the initiative, which supports the state's ongoing "The Soundtrack of America: Made in Tennessee" program, was $100,000, said Mr. Triplett.

The venue for the show, Ascend Amphitheatre, seats 7,000 people, but for those who don't get a seat and still want to watch, a viewing area with refreshments will be set up at Riverfront Park in downtown Nashville, said Ms. Pierce. Budweiser is also sponsoring a pre-show party on Broadway in Nashville.

While the show, which will include a number of special guests and a performance by Mr. Brooks, will take place in Tennessee, the state is looking to reach people with its content across a wide range of cities, such as Chicago, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles and London, said Mr. Triplett.

"We love the fact that a talent and brand like Garth Brooks will be associated with Tennessee, and we try to spread our message when it comes to authentic music that Tennessee is the home of that, whether it's country, blues or rock and roll," Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam told Ad Age.

Mr. Brooks, who came out of retirement in 2014 after 14 years, may not seem a likely candidate to attract millennials and Gen X, but Ms. Pierce said a lot of people in those generations listened to his music growing up with their parents. "You would think Garth resonates with only older audiences, but you'd be surprised to see how many young people know his music," she said.

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