The small businesses at the heart of America’s most iconic highway are struggling. Without them, the "Mother Road" is not worth the drive. With partner Mobil 1, we set out to not just tell the story of the fabled route, but to actually add a new chapter to it.
The starting point was to build the first new Muffler Man since the 70s, using one of the original small-business fabricators. Muffler Men are 25' fiberglass and steel giants who stand along the route, acting as advertising billboards for businesses.
We then transported him across seven state lines, hosting local events where we rallied local communities, promoted tourism, got national press attention for local businesses and set four Guinness World Records. All of this was to support an initiative to get Route 66 designated as a National Historic Trail, which would unlock federal preservation funds and ensure this iconic American experience is available for many generations to come.
Guinness World Records were set working arm-in-arm with local businesses for most variety of milkshakes flavors made, most corn dogs eaten, most real dogs attending a drive-in movie, and most stickers hand-placed on a car.
Billboards on I-40 and I-80 invited travelers to turn off the cruise control, pull off the interstate and explore the diners, motels, gift shops and roadside stops of Route 66.
Press from Food & Wine, CNN, Fox, ABC, Associated Press, Food Network, I Heart Radio, Yahoo and more spread the Keep Route 66 Kickin’ story in local markets along the route and as far as Minnesota, Texas, and Pittsburgh.
The campaign drove over 1B total impressions, with 600M from earned alone. Social content netted a 160% increase in engagement and a 4000% bump in follows. Keep Route 66 Kickin’ successfully drove lead generation and significantly raised awareness and positive sentiment toward Mobil 1 motor oil, defying a low-interest category and a lingering lockdown mindset.
Agency: DCX NYC
Creative team: Tommy Noonan, Al Kelly, Alistair Chew, Matt Evans