The campaign raised $20,000 in 20 days, exceeding its $15,000 goal. About 50% of donations came from Greece, while the rest came from Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the U.A.E., the UK and the U.S. According to Kleivokiotis, buzz spread entirely through Facebook and Twitter.
“Greece has a very big cashflow problem,” Yorgos Kleivokiotis, founder of Up Greek Tourism, told Mashable. “Tourism is people coming from abroad spending money on the economy. Will a billboard in Times Square make a huge difference? It’s not a huge ad campaign, but as more people get to know about it through social media it becomes worthwhile.”
According to Up Greek Tourism, the tourism industry is integral to Greece’s economy, representing 18% of GDP, employing one-fifth of the country’s workforce and bringing in 15 million visitors each year.
In May 2010, Kleivokiotis, a Greek national who has been living in Dubai for six years, created a Facebook event “Save Greece: Travel to Greece this Summer” in hopes of helping the Greek economy. The event reached 180,000 people, nearly 40,000 of whom said they were going.
Building off the Facebook event’s steam, Kleivokiotis wanted to do more. He donated to projects on Kickstarter and Kiva before deciding to campaign for a billboard in New York City. He had no idea that Times Square was within his reach.
Two of his friends joined his effort and then the team grew to 20 volunteers. They caught the attention of a Greek American who owned a Times Square billboard, which he offered to Up Greek Tourism at a steeply discounted rate.
The billboard art was designed pro bono by Greek American Charis Tsevis (known for Steve Jobs portraits made from Apple products). Tsevis’ poster features around 400 photos of people involved with the campaign. (mashable)
The next step of “Up Greek Tourism” is to have billboards in other major cities, such as Berlin.
Join the project in Facebook