Giant 400-LB Flip Flops Help Arizona Office of Tourism Win Prestigious Industry Awards

The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) is the recipient of two industry-related awards for promoting Arizona, in unusual ways, as a vibrant travel destination. AOT was recognized by the U.S. Travel Association with the coveted “Mercury Award for Special Projects” for the agency’s FY14 Target Cities campaign, which featured marketing efforts in Chicago and Los Angeles.

The Mercury Awards recognize national travel and tourism industry members for excellence in creativity in state destination marketing and promotion. AOT received the award at the U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) conference in Louisville, KY in August.

AOT’s Chicago campaign featured a massive wallscape with a 16-foot 3D “flip flop” prop promoting Arizona’s campaign website, The building-size wallscape featured a bikini-clad guest relaxing pool-side at one of Arizona’s rejuvenating resorts. In addition to the picture, AOT created an enormous 3D prop so it looked as if the visitor had kicked-off her giant 16-foot, 400-pound red flip flops crushing the cars parked below.

The Los Angeles efforts included a 3D rendition of the Grand Canyon National Park produced by artist Tracy Lee Stum, one of the world's leading 3D street painters. The rendering was on display for three days at the 3rd Street Promenade area in Santa Monica. Both marketing efforts generated more than 300,000 unique visits to the agency’s consumer website. AOT collaborated with Off Madison Ave advertising firm on the concept, design and execution of the campaign.

In addition to the Mercury award, AOT’s public relations efforts supporting the FY14 Target Cities campaign were recognized at the Copper Anvil ceremony, hosted by the Public Relations Society of America’s Phoenix Chapter. AOT was awarded the 2014 PRSA Phoenix Award of Merit for its public relations campaign tactics and results.

“It's an incredible honor for the Arizona Office of Tourism to be the recipient of both these distinctive awards,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “These campaigns were an intricate and collaborative effort and we want to thank everyone involved in helping us promote Arizona.”

As Arizona’s only statewide marketing agency promoting the Grand Canyon State, AOT produces year-round campaigns promoting Arizona as a vibrant travel and tourism destination. AOT’s mission is to expand Arizona’s economy and the quality of life for residents through travel and tourism promotion.

Tourism is one of Arizona’s key revenue generators for the state’s economy. In 2013, more than 39 million visitors generated $19.8 billion throughout the state, injecting nearly $54 million each day into Arizona’s economy. The Arizona travel and tourism industry generates revenue in all 15 Arizona counties, and is responsible for producing $2.7 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues. Additionally, the Arizona tourism industry employs more than 163,500 Arizona residents. Combined with the secondary employment that is generated, nearly 300,000 Arizona residents are impacted by this dynamic industry throughout the state.


About Arizona Office of Tourism
Created as an executive agency in 1975, the Arizona Office of Tourism is charged with enhancing the state’s economy and the quality of life for all Arizonans by expanding travel activity and increasing related revenues through tourism promotion.  For information on AOT’s program of work, research and media plans, visit For information about Arizona travel experiences, visit