How can you make tourism ads work harder?

FL Tourism AdThis weekend I was reading the Wall Street Journal and came across this Florida Tourism ad. No doubt, it’s part of the effort that all Gulf Coast states are undertaking right now to fend off summer vacation cancellations due to the oil spill.

On one hand I applaud the simplicity. There is no concept here…it’s just straightforward – we’re open for business folks. Come on down and enjoy our beaches. I like that. It’s a straightforward call to action.

It goes on to talk about Florida Live, where you’ll find up to the minute beachcams, local updates, daily video, etc. Which I love – in fact, I wrote about using just those kind of tactics in my 5 Ideas For Marketing Gulf Coast Tourism During the Oil Spill last week.

But here is where I think maybe the Florida Tourism folks, and their advertising agency, might have missed two great opportunities. Now I don’t point this out to be Mr. Smartie pants or to slam the fine folks over in Florida. Not at all. I’m simply using this current ad effort as an opportunity to share information and ideas that you may or may not be familiar with in hopes that you can find some knew knowledge in this post and apply it to your marketing needs. So here is what I think would have made a good effort truly great.

First, when you go to the site and watch the videos, they aren’t exactly what the consumer is looking for and often take a bit long to make their point. They are still a little controlled versus some of the other videos you can find on YouTube. For instance, I really like what “Mike from the beaches of Destin” is doing in his video here. He answers the burning vacationer question in the first 15 seconds! Now that is getting to the point and making online video work for you. The rest of the video goes on to support his initial claim that everything is ok in Destin. He’s also been doing a lot of these since the spill and each time he makes sure to record his video during good light so you really see the water, beaches and the emerald green water color. If I had a suggestion it would be to get a wind screen over his mic so that he gets better sound but other than that… nicely done and effective I think.

Second, the ad above could have taken advantage of some relatively new technology that is often called QR Code or 2D bar code. They could have included a simple little QR Code in the ad and taken advantage of today’s smart phone toting consumer’s love of technology and desire for instant information. Check out the video below for an example of what this ad could have done to drive home the point that today, the day you’re looking at this ad, everything is ok in Florida so come on down and vacation with us.

Using QR Codes to power real-time tourism advertising from Tom Martin on Vimeo.

Now this is just one way you might use technology to improve the believability of your advertising and sync your advertising efforts with your online and social media efforts. Who knows, the inclusion of the QR Code and ability to watch a YouTube video right there on your phone without having to type a thing might even have opened up a PR angle too… who knows… the point is, we have so many options open to us today in the marketing world that we need to explore and experiment.

If you’re not already, don’t you owe it to yourself to either find out about this stuff or find someone who does and let them give you the cliff notes version?

And hey, if you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing so you can have posts from this blog sent directly to your eMail in box. And don’t worry, I’ll never share your email with anyone and I don’t send anything but blog posts… because that’s not what your here for right?

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets that helps digitally challenged companies create innovative and effective digital marketing strategies. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Connect with him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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