Creating a Macy's Miracle for Genesee Country Village & Museum
One of the nation's premier living history venues, Genesee Country Village & Museum was ready to launch its most ambitious exhibition in a generation: the world's first full-sized, functioning replica of a Civil War reconnaissance balloon. Then disaster struck -- a global helium shortage meant that the gas needed to fill and operate the vessel was unavailable at any cost.
McDougall Communications stepped in to lead the search for a white knight. Counseling the Board of Trustees to expose the issue instead of tucking it away, the team secured national coverage about the plight, directly leading to calls offering assistance from across the U.S. Our team then conceived the master stroke with just days to spare -- gaining a donation of $50,000 in helium from Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade reserves.
This "Macy's Miracle" generated the greatest publicity the museum had seen in its four decades of existence -- including multiple Associated Press features, a feature on the Huffington Post, and a flurry of social media discussion -- leading to record attendance during its Independence Day launch.
In their own words...
"Just weeks before the nation’s first launching of a major exhibition – a full-size, Civil War gas balloon – we encountered a global helium shortage. In fact, helium was absolutely unobtainable at any price. McDougall Communications immediately recommended going public with the news in pursuit of a white knight. Although this advice was counter-intuitive to some Trustees, it was unquestionably the correct thing to do in that it allowed us to control, and get ahead of, the potentially bad news and portrayed us as innocent victims of the shortage.
"In gaining national exposure from the Associated Press and others, we received calls offering assistance from across the U.S. McDougall then reached out to Macy’s, constructing a partnership that led the retailer to incredibly donate $50,000 in helium from its parade allocation. As a result, the dramatic “Macy's miracle” and the subsequent launch itself were again covered nationally and generated more publicity than the museum had ever received, leading to record attendance for the launch week. It is quite fair to say that the publicity and the resolution to our problem were entirely due to McDougall Communications' expertise and crisis management abilities."
President & CEO, Genesee Country Village & Museum