The Guarantee

Memphis International Airport

Company background

The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority oversees Memphis International Airport (MEM) as well as two regional airports, General Dewitt Spain and Charles W. Baker.

The Airport Authority hired RedRover to deliver a multi-year community-engagement campaign for Memphis International Airport (MEM).

MEM serves 4 million passengers (2016) with 583 weekly flights to 39 destinations.

Why did they come to us?

Delta Airlines de-hubbed Memphis International Airport (MEM) in 2013 as part of a national trend that many Delta hub cities experienced. The result was a massive decline in air service to and from Memphis.

The Airport Authority had no role in Delta’s business decision, though our city’s ramp down was more moderately paced than some others. However, the Airport Authority and MEM were quickly and harshly blamed in the court of public opinion.

Our charge was to shift what was a barrage of negative public opinion to a more future-focused dialogue about the airport’s Modernization Plan.

Shift Public Opinion

RedRover’s marketing approach with Memphis International Airport (MEM) began with a deep research initiative that included several strategies. The first was to collect opinions about the airport from community leaders, in-airport vendors, and citizens. RedRover also conducted a survey to uncover what citizens love most about Memphis and what makes Memphis feel like home to them. We leaned on the analysis of internal operational details that would allow us to create a campaign delivering the biggest bang for the buck to the airport. Lastly, our team evaluated award-winning airport marketing campaigns across the globe. The RedRover-MEM campaign has since won several awards, too.

First Team MEM

Nonstop Campaign

Branded Website

Engage the Community

The resulting marketing strategy set in motion what has become a highly lauded campaign from the standpoints of local community engagement and industry award recognition.

A Winning Spokesperson

Perhaps the most recognizable aspect of the campaign has been the spokesperson adventures.

For the first couple of years of the campaign, beloved former Grizzlies star Tony Allen graced every campaign message about “A Better MEM in Progress.” His reputation for getting a hard job done was the perfect alignment with the airport’s message to the community that better days are ahead.

Once Tony was traded from the Grizzlies, the door opened up for more spokespeople who would take the Modernization Plan message to the community.

With the spot open, there was no better spokesperson to fill Tony’s shoes than Penny Hardaway, especially with the recruiting success of the new University of Memphis Tiger’s basketball coach. A hometown hero who was back in Memphis and driving success with his vast experience and following. Penny and MEM; it just made sense.


“RedRover really digs in from the beginning to gain a complete understanding of your business and industry, as demonstrated by their keen awareness of our unique situation and the best path forward from our very first conversation. They take an insightful, big-picture approach to strategy development, and their ability to deliver on both our marketing and training needs was a crucial factor in the decision to partner with them.”

Glen Thomas, Public Information Officer,
Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority

Our Results