One in a series of case studies highlighting creative projects, imaginative clients, and remarkable results.
The Open Streets 704 program hosts twice-yearly events that “open” Charlotte city streets connecting neighbors and neighborhoods for an afternoon of fun, free activities they can enjoy with their entire family. The event is based on successful Open Streets festivals in cities around the world, which encourage people to live healthier, better-connected lives by allowing them to explore local neighborhoods in a way that’s just not possible by car.
With an eighth event approaching, Open Streets 704 feels like it’s a regular on Charlotte’s spring and fall “must do” calendars. But introducing the concept of open streets took some creativity on behalf of The Dunstan Group. Branded merchandise would need to be functional, of course, but would also need to communicate basic “what, when, and where,” information, while giving recipients the idea of what the event was all about. With events and activities spread out over several miles, and many different neighborhoods, branded merchandise would need to do more than market a logo — it would have to encourage an idea of people-powered activity for every age and background.
The Big Idea:
Among a suite of promotional items including banners, key keepers, and reusable cups, the branded Frisbees and blinking bike lights were runaway hits at other outdoor festivals and functions leading up to the first Open Streets 704 event. Customized printed coasters were another fun and functional promotion that served as a nod to the participating local breweries along the route. Staff and volunteer t-shirts helped participants and wayfinding signs helped reinforce the brand during the event.
Clearly, folks got the message about Open Streets 704! The semi-annual events draw more than 30,000 people outside and into the streets. Participants say they’ve discovered new neighborhoods and businesses along the routes, and are more willing to walk, ride a bike, or visit a park as a result of being a part of Open Streets 704 events. Businesses agree they’ve gotten more exposure – and new customers – from Open Streets 704.
“Open Streets 704 is truly an event anyone can participate in,” said Eleanor Shell, one of the program organizers. “Open Streets 704 crosses neighborhood boundaries, and reaches out to our entire community to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to get out, meet new people, see new places, and have fun.”
“The Dunstan Group really understood the vision of the event for what we are hoping to create in our community, and to carry over that same feeling from one afternoon to the rest of the year.”