Daytona Beach Visitor Center prepares to launch new ad campaign

DAYTONA BEACH — On the eve of its October debut, “Beach On,” the rallying cry at the heart of a new marketing campaign for Daytona Beach tourism, received another round of positive reviews on Wednesday from fans. board members of the Halifax Area Advertising Authority.

“Wow, I have chills!” said Linda Bowers, board member, director of sales and marketing at the 323-room Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach. “It touched me emotionally, the artistic side of it. I love that.

A fast-paced assortment of 30-second TV spots and digital and print ads were previewed at a meeting of the county-appointed tourist board that oversees and funds the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau by representatives of the Zimmerman agency.

In case you missed it:Daytona Beach has a new tourist slogan. This is what replaces ‘Wide. Open. Fun.’

Another preview:Daytona Beach ‘Beach On’ Tourism Campaign Receives Positive Reviews from Volusia Hoteliers

It’s the Tallahassee-based company that recently signed a three-year contract to handle destination marketing for the Daytona CVB. Zimmerman officially begins its work on October 1, when the new marketing campaign is launched.

“Like Christmas Morning”

“It’s like Christmas morning,” said Andy Jorishie, president of advertising at Zimmerman. “This is the first taste, appetizers, of the new marketing campaign.”

As board members watched, the first of the TV commercials played out with a family unpacking floaties and beach towels from an SUV as their children raced towards the waves.

“There’s always something amazing happening on a beach road trip,” intones one announcer. “When you get here, you always have a full tank of gas. Find your trip on DaytonaBeach.com.

Another ad features a lone walker next to the ocean at sunrise as the narrator alludes to Daytona’s 23 miles of waterfront as a scenic spot to cover daily fitness goals. A third advertisement revolves around visitors sipping colorful cocktails in an elegant setting.

A first draft image of the new "beach on" marketing campaign by the Zimmerman agency of Tallahassee which has been approved by the Board of Directors of the Halifax Area Advertising Authority.  The campaign will be launched in October.

Board members quickly proclaimed the productions a triumph.

“You guys are really smart and that’s really sharp,” said Board Chair Androse Bell, General Manager of the Hard Rock Hotel. “It’s a great atmosphere.”

That sentiment was echoed by fellow board member John Betros, general manager of the 132-room Daytona Beach Regency on North Atlantic Avenue.

“Well done,” he said. “That really looks awesome.”

How ads will be served

“Beach On” will be rolled out with a focus on digital media aimed at a range of potential demographics, including couples, empty nests, singles, seniors and families with young children, according to the team. by Zimmermann.

In addition to Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami and Ocala, the campaign will also aim to attract visitors from Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and the Northeast, as well as Texas and Illinois, among other targets.

On Wednesday, the board unanimously approved the allocation of $2.8 million, or 35% of its $7.9 million annual marketing budget, for the second quarter of the fiscal year now beginning. October 1. That’s up from the $1.3 million budgeted for the first quarter that includes the October launch.

In Daytona Beach, “Beach On” will be the destination’s first new marketing concept since “Wide.Open.Fun.” was launched in 2018 by The Brandon Agency, the Myrtle Beach, SC-based company that is CVB’s current marketing company until its contract expires on September 30. The campaign drew widespread criticism from area residents at the time.

From 2018: Daytona Beach will attract tourists with “Wide”. Open. Fun.’

With “Beach On,” the goal is to make Daytona Beach the “original and best beach destination in Florida for families,” Jorishie said.

Despite the board’s optimism, there are challenges building that mindset according to the results of a “perception study” by Tallahassee-based Downs & St. Germain Research.

This company conducted an Internet survey of 525 potential visitors in 17 key markets and states over 10 days in August to compile baseline data on awareness and opinions of Daytona Beach among potential visitors.

On tourism branding efforts:As tourism officials seek a ‘brand’ for Daytona Beach, looks and the past remain obstacles

On the positive side, potential visitors have a high profile of Daytona Beach, said Joseph St. Germain, president of the company. In the survey, 70% of potential visitors are familiar with Daytona Beach, second only to Miami Beach, he said.

Beachgoers pack the shoreline of Daytona Beach over Labor Day weekend.  Some potential visitors consider Daytona Beach to be too crowded, according to results from a new destination perception survey by Tallahassee-based Downs & St. Germain Research.

Similarly, the percentage of respondents who said they had visited Daytona Beach was surpassed only by visitors to Miami Beach.

At the same time, the survey also highlighted barriers to attracting visitors, St. Germain said.

“It’s not all sunshine and lollipops,” he said.

For example, 23% of respondents described the beach as too crowded, an image that persists decades after the MTV-fueled spring break chaos of the early 1990s.

Unrelated to the company’s research, a fleeting indication of this perception appeared in a new American Express TV ad in which a woman chooses a Caribbean vacation over a trip to Daytona Beach, represented by a photo Instagram of a crowded waterfront.

In case you missed it:Daytona Beach gets a nod in new American Express ad. Is it good or bad for our reputation?

In the survey, more than 1 in 4 respondents who said they had never been to Daytona Beach said they simply preferred somewhere else.

St. Germain called these perceptions an “educational” opportunity that could be addressed by reintroducing the destination and its family attributes to potential visitors. The survey will be repeated after the campaign has been running for a year, he said.

“That’s the baseline,” he said. “The next one will say, ‘How did we move the needle?’ The key will be how we move the needle with the campaign.

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