Florida Keys News
Thursday, March 28, 2013
TDC's new tourism ads tightly targeted
Digital banners triggered by cold weather up North

Members of the Key West Chamber of Commerce were treated Wednesday to an audio and visual sampling of the advertisements that lure visitors from cold climates south to the Florida Keys island chain.

John Underwood and Eric Gitlin of Tinsley Advertising, the Miami-based firm hired by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council to design and place tourism ads, spoke at Wednesday's Chamber luncheon at the DoubleTree Grand Key Resort.

Underwood, who is Tinsley's chief marketing officer, explained that things are going well in the Florida Keys, where a "robust" advertising budget allows for creative designs and placement in the appropriate magazines, television, digital and billboard slots.

"We're in charge of strategic planning, concept development, creating, production, placement and tracking of the Keys ad campaign," Underwood said, introducing Associate Media Director Gitlin, who explained that Florida Keys advertisements are targeted to affluent visitors between the ages of 34 and 65 with an annual household income of more than $100,000.

Within that target demographic exists several niche markets, including brides, gay and lesbian travelers, fishermen and divers.

Gitlin explained that 48 percent of Key West's advertising budget is spent on television commercials on The Food Network, Bravo, The Travel Channel, HGTV, CNN and Logo.

Additional commercials are run in "spot markets," such as Boston, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and are traditionally aired right after local evening news, "because news isn't DVR'ed, it's still watched live," Gitlin said.

He and Underwood then showed the chamber members several television and print ads using Key West's latest advertising catch phrase, "Close to perfect, far from normal."

Some of the slogans used for the gay and lesbian market include, "We were out before it was in," and a lesbian-focused ad shows two women on a sailboat with the words, "Men overboard."

There also has been an increased focus on arts and culture in Key West's advertising, Gitlin said, adding that $1.5 million of Key West's $5 million to $6 million advertising budget is spent on digital media such as banner ads on websites and 15-second commercials that air before a selected YouTube video.

One of the newest forms of digital advertising, Gitlin explained, are weather-triggered banner ads.

"As soon as the temperature drops below 40 degrees in one of our target markets, like New York or Boston, people will automatically see an expandable banner ad showing Key West's three-day weather forecast," he said.

Advertising on mobile phones and tablets also is increasing, and Tinsley works to make those ads interactive, at one point requiring users to "swipe" away gray clouds to reveal a picture-perfect Florida Keys day in the sun.

The samples of television commercials and print advertisements received a good amount of applause from chamber members Wednesday.

"I just want to make one comment," said one audience member at the end of the presentation. "Your ad campaign is brilliant, and it makes me prouder than ever to be a Key Wester."

mmiles@keysnews.com

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