TAMPA, FL--(Marketwired - Mar 17, 2014) -  EMSI Public Relations' #PiInTheSky marketing campaign soared -- along with client AirSign, Inc.'s skywriting extravaganza -- on March 13, going viral as the No. 2 trending topic nationwide on Twitter, said EMSI founder and CEO Marsha Friedman.

Within hours, AirSign had exposure in local and national publications across the country, from Time magazine to Forbes, and on national broadcasts including Fuse TV and NPR's Morning Edition.

"The event and campaign were an awe-inspiring example of what can happen when we combine old and new and add a good dose of strategy and imagination," Friedman said.

"AirSign took an old-fashioned marketing vehicle, aerial advertising, and turned it into something new -- 21st century art designed by Ben Davis, the artist who goes by ISHKY. EMSI added a fun but aggressive content-driven social media strategy integrated with traditional media campaigns."

The EMSI team had just three days to develop and implement its plan -- AirSign was a brand-new client.

As part of EMSI's plan, its social media team attracted followers attending South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, to the Twitter handle @AirSignUSA and began using the hashtag #PiInTheSky to coyly tease about a big surprise for the city. They asked that the pilots spell out #Pi In The Sky before launching into their plan to circle the sky with hundreds of numbers in the infinite pi sequence. That would allow EMSI to control the message, funneling tweets and other social media related to the event through #PiInTheSky.

At 6:28 p.m. CDT -- the precise start time (pi times two is 6.28) -- the first tweets appeared. "#PiInTheSky This is amazing," wrote @BobbyCBlanchard, sharing a photo of the skyscraper-sized # Pi In The Sky letters emblazoned on the sky.

"From there, it just took off -- so to speak," says Friedman. "At one point, Fuse TV was telling viewers to send in their #PiInTheSky tweets and they would read them on the air live. We had reached out to newspapers, magazines and TV stations before the event, and they came back to us for quotes from Patrick Walsh, AirSign's CEO, and photographs."

Less than 15 minutes after the AirSign planes launched, #PiInTheSky was the No. 1 trending hashtag in Austin; a few minutes later, it was No. 2 in the United States, second only to #SXSW.

"#PiInTheSky was tweeted, retweeted, mentioned or favorited thousands of times, and our team was right in there posting hundreds of tweets, replies, comments and photos," Friedman said. "They kept it fun, friendly and very creative. They did a great job of monitoring tweets and strategically tweeting and retweeting and they got excellent exposure for AirSign's website by making it part of the conversation."

By the end of the night, Friedman says, everyone involved in the project was exhausted but elated.

"To see the public outpouring of gratitude to AirSign and ISHKY for their surprise air show was wonderful. Patrick had done this pro bono -- he just thought ISHKY's idea was very cool," Friedman says. "I was glad we could help him get credit for his part in it, because we thought it was really cool, too."

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 24-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national, pay-for-performance firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to businesses, professional practices, entertainers and authors. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself; she can be heard on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI's PR Insider, Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET. Follow her on Twitter: @marshafriedman.

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Ginny Grimsley