Port Aransas & Mustand Island

Bringing Folks Back After Hurricane Harvey




The Challenge

In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast, with Port Aransas and Mustang Island taking the brunt of the blow. It caused over $1 billion in damages and left the island and its tourism business in ruins.

In the months that followed, Texans rallied to help rebuild Port A, but most people wondered what would become of their beloved beach destination. Images in the news painted a dire picture – destroyed homes, sunken boats, entire condominium complexes wiped out. Folks had no idea when, if ever, the island they loved would be open for fun again.

A Comeback Story

Texans have come to Port A for generations – it’s the beach they love coming back to year after year, and not even Hurricane Harvey could change that. That’s why we created the “Come Back” campaign to show Texas that Port A was back and ready for visitors. And who better to deliver that message than real, resilient members of Port A’s community?

Media Approach

To reach Texans, we focused on high-level awareness and contextual relevancy. TV weather sponsorships and prime-time spots proved key, as well as OOH across the state in high-traffic areas. For print, we ran an attention-getting spread in Texas Monthly’s Coastal Comeback issue that detailed the comeback of beach destinations to drive attention. We targeted those listening to playlists about road trips or beaches in streaming audio and even created a custom-branded playlist featuring classic beach hits and artists performing in Port Aransas. Interactive digital units let consumers see which parts of the island had reopened to demonstrate readiness for beach lovers to return. Lower funnel tactics such as paid search, paid social, and programmatic, including retargeting those who saw our TV spot with a digital ad, helped convert awareness into actual trips.

Evolving the Work

After a hugely successful spring and summer season, and a lot of rebuilding, we no longer needed to tell people Port A is back. It was time to get back to talking about what made Port A, well, Port A.
The “Texas Family Tradition” shifted focus from recovery to tradition, celebrating the beaches, food, activities, and all the things that have made Port A such a family favorite for generations.

Pivoting in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

As COVID-19 began to spread across the United States, the CDC implemented social distancing recommendations. All of this hit right in the middle of the Spring Break travel season for our Port Aransas. Slingshot knew we needed to adjust Port A’s messaging to encourage people to stay home and follow CDC guidelines, while still reminding them that Port A is a great destination to visit once it’s safe to travel again.

A Nimble Swap for OOH Houston

Pausing digital media for Port A made sense but an OOH board in Houston couldn’t be paused. We knew it would be insensitive to run normal messaging during this health crisis. So, we produced a board with a more hopeful message that reminded people that the beach isn’t going anywhere. 

Bringing the Beach to the People

Since people couldn’t go to the beach, Slingshot decided to help Port A bring the beach to the people. Slingshot came up with a proactive idea that Port Aransas edit first-person footage on the beach and share it on Facebook so people stuck at home can pretend they’re at the beach. The client loved the idea and ran with it.


The Reaction

Within six hours of being posted, the message saw an over 600% increase in engagement compared to posts from the previous two weeks and included replies like “We cannot wait to come back” and “We love Port A.”