WASHINGTON--()--The Public Affairs Council recognized Southwest Airlines with its 2013 Grassroots Innovation Award for the “Free Hobby” campaign. Presented at the 36th Annual National Grassroots Conference in Key West, the award recognizes the nation’s leading grassroots innovators.
“This is just the latest recognition in our award-winning, decade-long partnership.”
“We are thrilled to congratulate our long-term and valued partner in Southwest Airlines,” said Pam Fielding, President of SevenTwenty Strategies, a partner in the “Free Hobby” campaign. “This is just the latest recognition in our award-winning, decade-long partnership.”
Citing the region’s dynamic economy, expected population growth and large Hispanic community, Southwest sought to expand services in Houston to include international air service to Latin America. Although Southwest offered to fund the expansion, the proposal drew significant opposition from major industry players.
To secure approval from the City of Houston and combat opposition messages, Southwest worked with strategic partners, SevenTwenty Strategies and GSD&M, to develop the “Free Hobby” campaign. The coordinated grassroots effort drove supporters to FreeHobbyAirport.com to communicate with policymakers and media about the expansion’s economic importance to the region in terms of jobs, tax revenue, lower airfare and increased travel options.
“Free Hobby” was able to generate over 33,000 signatures from a vast array of stakeholders and ultimately persuaded the Houston City Council to approve the measure by a vote of 16-1, making it the largest grassroots campaign many Members had seen.
“Southwest is a grassroots innovator for their relentless creativity and willingness to turn a norm on its head,” said PAC’s Rikki Amos in presenting the award to Monica del Rio, Southwest’s Community Affairs & Grassroots Specialist.
“'Free Hobby' was truly a team effort for the Southwest family, pulling together employees, customers and the local business community to make sure our voice was heard at City Hall,” said del Rio. “We’re thrilled — not only for winning this award, but also for delivering greater competition and increased consumer options to Houston.”
About SevenTwenty Strategies
SevenTwenty Strategies is an integrated public affairs and public relations agency specializing in helping America’s top brands listen to, engage and interact with their most important stakeholders — online and off. Using a savvy integrated mix of digital marketing, social media advocacy, earned media, grassroots and issues management, SevenTwenty supports the public affairs, PAC and grassroots programs of some of the nation’s most dynamic Fortune 500 companies and trade associations.