Ocean City’s ‘Vacation Day’ Marketing Campaign Detailed
OCEAN CITY – With the summer season approaching, Ocean City tourism representatives receive an update this week on the current advertising campaign.
Andy Malis and Allison Fiorelli of MGH, Ocean City’s advertising agency, attended this week’s Tourism Commission meeting to present an update on this summer’s advertising campaign.
Fiorelli began by explaining the thought behind Ocean City’s 2014 campaign, “Vacation Day”, which places less emphasis on Rodney the Lifeguard as a character in the commercials but features him more as brand of Ocean City.
“We are bringing Rodney back in a special way and treating him as the ambassador of the brand of Ocean City more so than a character in the spot,” she said. “We are also reminding viewers of Ocean City’s vacation value that they need to spend a week in Ocean City and also promoting all of Ocean City’s free events.”
According to MGH, in 2013, 144 million employed Americans collectively failed to take more than 577 million vacation days. U.S. workers earned 14 vacation days in 2013 but claimed only 10, which is twice as many unused days as 2012, and Ocean City’s campaign tags into the universal phenomenon of people not making as much time for a real vacation.
MGH conducted a survey of 2,000 people to find out how they use vacation days. The results showed 70 percent of vacation time is used on things other than vacation, such as 15 percent of time is used visiting the DMV, 16 percent of time is used gardening, 20 percent of time is used waiting for a service representative, 29 percent of time is used moving, 34 percent of time is used for home repairs or improvement, 38 percent of time is used running errands and 45 percent of time is used for medical appointments.
“We wanted to really connect to something that everybody can relate to like not using your vacation days for a true vacation,” Fiorelli said.
The commercials picture people wearing bright yellow “Vacation Day” T-shirts acting as a vacation day used to accomplish chores, appointments and other tasks besides an actual vacation. Then, in comes Rodney the Lifeguard featuring all of what Ocean City has to offer. The end of each commercial will spotlight a different free event in Ocean City, such as Sundaes in the Park.
Ocean City Tourism and Marketing Director Donna Abbott said the commercials caught the attention of the United States Travel Association, the president and CEO of which sent Abbott an email complimenting Ocean City on the creative.
“They thought they were amazing … because on a national level they recognize the trend of people not using their vacation days for an actual vacation and they are working on policies and other promotions that tie right in with that,” Abbott said.
Fiorelli continued the “Vacation Day” theme will tie into other marketing tools, such as online and billboards. Next week 140 billboards will be launched from Maryland to New York spreading different messages of how a vacation day should be used. An example is, “Vacation days are for working on your tan, not yard work.”
The “Vacation Day” theme has also been translated to expandable web banners that will drop down and display photography of Ocean City as well as the current weather and countdowns to future events.
Fiorelli furthered, Facebook is the town’s prime property with over 650,000 fans, so MGH will be focusing efforts on Twitter, Instagram and Goggle Plus this season while continuing efforts on Facebook.
A sweepstakes will be featured on Facebook up until the end of June giving away a 7-night stay at the Grand Hotel in July or August. Mayor Rick Meehan will arrive on the winner’s door step to announce the big news and offer to take on a couple of hours of house work for the family.
New this summer is a “Vacation Day” personal assistant Facebook app that will provide Ocean City vacationers with a few tools to use while on vacation, such as office replies, a prerecorded voicemail message by the mayor that people can record and use for their own voicemails, and Facebook timeline cover photos people can post on their Facebook while on vacation.
Along with the billboards, the media plan will feature 18 total weeks of television from March 31-Aug. 18, 26 weeks of online from April 1-Sept. 29, and two weeks of radio at the end of July into August.
Print media will be maintained in the annual presence of two state publications and AAA, plus a free full page ad in Washington Post Magazine, and insertions in seven additional lifestyle/travel publications, including Southern Living and Hearst Magazines.
“Something else exciting that we wanted to share with you all is our interactive projects this year. We have been working on redesigning the desktop website and the mobile website,” Fiorelli said.
The new website and mobile app displays a modern design with a focus on photography and larger photography on member list pages and detail pages. The site will allow for dynamic content updates for business information, deals and promotions. The new pages are scheduled to launch on May 19.