Red Star Line


Between 1873 and 1934, legendary shipping company Red Star Line, based in Antwerp, Belgium, transported 2.6 million emigrants on a journey to a new life in North America. In April 2005, the city of Antwerp purchased the original Red Star Line buildings from the Port Authorities of Antwerp and began a $26 million, top-to-bottom transformation of the complex slated for completion in spring 2013 as the Red Star Line Museum. The Museum’s concept was developed by a committee of American and Belgian academics, and will showcase the historic trans-Atlantic migration from Europe to America.


CIIC’s challenge was create and increase awareness and excitement for the Red Star Line Museum’s opening, two years prior to its completion. Red Star Line Museum’s introduction needed to capture attention at all levels of media: traditional, digital and most importantly, social.


In preparation for the grand opening of the Red Star Line Museum, CIIC developed the ‘Do You Know This Girl?’ creative campaign to engage the Red Star Line’s target demographic audience via the digital platforms of a blog along with Facebook and Twitter social networks to generate interest in the RSL museum, encouraging people to share family stories and experiences relating to the Red Star Line, while in the search for the identity of a girl in a old black and white photograph.

‘Do You Know This Girl’ was a multi-tiered social media campaign, featuring both a blog and a Facebook page where fans were encouraged to join in the search, find clues, and learn more about the Red Star Line Museum. By entering the contest, fans were eligible to win a trip for two to Belgium. Entry forms were found on the blog site, and fans were required to tag the photo of the girl, automatically sharing the photo with their friends, and gaining exposure.

To kick off the campaign and contest, CIIC created and managed an exclusive VIP Press Event in New York City, with celebrity spokesperson Diane Von Furstenberg and Vice Mayor Heylen of Antwerp. In preparation for the VIP Reception, CIIC conducted the following activities on behalf of the Red Star Line Museum:

  • Developed list of press invitees
  • Disseminated invitation
  • Conducted email and telephone follow-up to secure attendance
  • Coordinated press conference
  • Drafted talking points and remarks, delivered by Vice Mayor Heylen
  • Staffed press conference and VIP reception

To create additional buzz surrounding the campaign and in conjunction with the launch, the campaign image was posted on the Reuters Sign in New York’s Time Square and the Fashion Show Mall sign on the Las Vegas strip.

CIIC also researched and developed a targeted list of print, broadcast and online media contacts to receive all press releases, pitch letters, and media alerts in conjunction with the ‘Do You Know This Girl?’ campaign. Press contacts were selected from a variety of vertical markets, including but not limited to the following:

  • Travel Publications
  • Blogs (European Travel, Museums, Genealogy/Ancestry, etc.)
  • Top 100 Daily Newspapers
  • Regional Publications in Target Demographic US markets
  • Genealogy Publications
  • Syndicated Outlets & Writers
  • Belgian Publications & Writers
  • Museum Trade Publications


The CIIC/Red Star Line public relations program yielded the following results in editorial coverage and digital campaign results from June 2011 through September 2011:

  • 237 Secured Print/Online Clips
  • +154,424,282 readers
  • 523% increase on Twitter followers
  • 1039% increase on Facebook fans
  • 5,831 blog views in over 68 countries