Since 2008, Butin, a Georgia-based public relations and marketing agency, has partnered with the Jekyll Island Authority to publicize and market the travel destination.
Each September, Jekyll Island hosts its signature Shrimp & Grits Festival event, celebrating the favorite coastal dish. In 2016, following a multi-year revitalization effort on the island, Jekyll Island Authority tapped Butin with developing an event marketing strategy to drive attendance from across the state and broaden the food event’s regional awareness.
To generate publicity, stories and interest for the destination, Butin expanded the annual local cooking competition to include Georgia’s best restaurants to compete for the title of “Georgia’s Best Shrimp & Grits.” During the festival, nine chefs – one from each of the eight regions as well as the defending champion from the previous year’s local competition – battled it out in a heated competition. The winner had the honor of preparing his award-winning dish for the Governor and First Lady of Georgia and their special guests at the Governor’s Mansion in Atlanta.
Butin’s strategic planning and publicity efforts helped drive event attendance into the tens of thousands, and the island experience significant year-over-year economic impact increases as a result of the heightened visitation. Butin also secured extensive regional and national news media placements for the large-scale event with a potential audience of more than 130 million, including coverage in every region of the state and a story on the Associated Press wire. An additional 14 million were exposed to coverage of the exclusive shrimp and grits dinner at the Governor’s Mansion.