Thinking through potential event concepts, the most DIA-specific theme was the long-standing conspiracy theory that the airport sits on top of the headquarters for a top-secret alien organization. Several media sources have covered this theory, including Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report in 2012. For the midway point celebration, the theme provided ample potential for public and local media engagement.
The event video, although threaded with conspiracy, required considerable real-world time and energy to produce. Playing on the popular AT&T ads, Denver Mayor Hancock talked with focus groups of children who make funny, yet informative remarks when asked about the airport and the HTC, turning the conversation to the alien conspiracy. Hancock’s predecessors also wanted in on the action, setting off a phone-tree conversation – and ample patience and flexibility – as CIG accommodated five former mayors’ schedules.
CIG’s social media plan called for an aggressive two-day push on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, including conspiracy-related content. The defining moment occurred when a DIA Media Relations Manger Tweeted a photo of a “fossilized” plaster alien skull with the comment, “A strange find while building @DENAirport's Hotel and Transit Center.” In minutes, the post reached more than 10,000 Twitter users. The energy spread and generated a flood of positive comments about DIA’s social media persona
Meanwhile, CIG coordinated the filling of a time capsule to include everything from an iPhone to a DIA art booklet to Mayor Hancock’s personal Broncos jersey. Dozens of items picked by internal and external stakeholders went into the capsule before it was ceremoniously dropped into the underbelly of the HTC. And, to the surprise of all in attendance, into the waiting, willing green hands of an alien comrade!