The VA Waterfront
It’s a 1,500-mile stretch of shoreline that’s home to Williamsburg, Hampton, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Four independent, competitive jurisdictions with two things in common. Each offers tourists hundreds of exceptional attractions. And each had a rather modest budget to promote these attractions to tourists.
Actually, they had a third thing in common—the smarts to combine their funds to generate more interest in this region of Virginia.
This is where Siddall stepped into the picture and immediately realized that job one was to give the region a brand identity. In other words, give it a name. The inspiration was lapping up along the shores. After all, water is the one fundamental aspect of this area. It’s ingrained in its culture, way of life and history. Thus, The Virginia Waterfront was born.
Having created a unifying image for the 50-mile region, Siddall had to also convince vacationers that there are a breadth of marquee attractions within an hour’s drive. So, The Virginia Waterfront marketed a Gold Card offering special deals at hundreds of places. To generate inquiries, a targeted radio, TV and print campaign advertising the 1-800-FUN IN VA phone line was created and supplemented with highly successful PR/ promotional efforts. So successful, in fact, that The Virginia Waterfront was featured on Times Square’s Jumbotron for four days, free of charge.
The efforts paid off. During the six-week paid media effort, the toll-free line received nearly 35,000 calls requesting more information. Tracking studies indicated “excitement about the region” increased from 44 percent to 51 percent as a result of the campaign. The percentage of people agreeing this was a good “value for the money” went from 39 percent to 47 percent. And these were made real by the numerous regional attractions that reported an increase in their year-over-year attendance figures.