Travelers arriving at the Atlanta airport are now being greeted by giant posters promoting both "Hartsfield" and "Jackson," the airport's namesakes.
It's part of the airport's new campaign to encourage people to use both names when mentioning the airport. The posters cover a large construction wall in the high-profile greeting area at the top of the escalators from the people-mover train in the domestic terminal.
Former Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield developed the airport in its earlier days, while former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson oversaw construction of the current terminal completed in 1980.
The campaign is aimed at addressing concern raised by Jackson's family and city council members over the public's propensity to call the airport "Hartsfield" rather than using the full official name, "Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport."
"Jackson" was added to the airport's name in 2003, after a racially-tinged debate between a contingent that wanted to keep the Hartsfield name and another that wanted to rename the airport for Jackson. Then-Mayor Shirley Franklin pushed for a compromise to use both men’s names.
Following a column by AJC columnist Bill Torpy, the Atlanta City Council approved a resolution earlier this year demanding to know why some people still omit "Jackson" when mentioning the airport's name.
“The Aviation General Manager is requested to monitor and notify necessary persons to determine reasons why when using the name of the Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the name, ‘Jackson’, is often omitted, not used or overlooked,” the resolution by the council members read.
“The Aviation General Manager is requested to monitor and notify necessary persons to determine reasons why when using the name of the Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the name, ‘Jackson,’ is often omitted, not used or overlooked,” the resolution read.
The airport pledged to combat the name issue, then in June unveiled its action plan. It worked with branding consultant Jones Worley and Bigelow Advertising to come up with the branding campaign with a tagline: "Two Men, One Vision."
The posters include giant images of each man's visage, along with a quote from each of them.
"Somehow, Atlanta always meets the challenge.... We have been doing it and will continue in the years to come," reads the quote from Hartsfield.
"We stand not so much as a gateway to the South but as a gateway to a new time, a new era, a new beginning for the cities of our land," reads the quote from Jackson.
In case you were wondering what's behind the mayorly-decorated construction wall that obstructs part of the walkway in the terminal, the airport is building space for a new visitors center and a new concession in the meet-and-greet area.
The $200,000 visitors center will be a partnership between the Atlanta Convention and Visitor Bureau and the tourism division of the state Department of Economic Development. It will feature giant HD video walls that will show images of Atlanta and various regions of the state. The ACVB expects the new visitors center will likely be complete in December.
The airport has not yet determined what will go in the new concessions space, said Hartsfield-Jackson's Kyle Mastin, but has considered everything from retail to a coffee outlet or services such as a dry cleaner.