Jul 26
2010

Here’s the full article that appeared in the Tampa Bay Business Journal about the AAF 4th District www.FriendFlorida.org public service campaign.

It’s likely that Tampa Bay area residents know the beaches are oil-free. But people outside the area aren’t so sure.

Now, the American Advertising Federation – Fourth District, the affiliate of the national professional association representing Florida and the Caribbean, is giving the message an extra push. A national understanding of the condition of Tampa Bay area beaches is important not only to pirate ship cruise operators, jet-ski rental companies and the tourism industry, but to the economic health of a region built around the water.

Mike Weber, president of St. Petersburg media production company CMR Studios, is leading the AAF – Fourth District campaign. He was inspired to start the effort after attending the AAF national conference in Orlando in June.

“People I talked to thought that all the Gulf beaches were black with oil,” Weber said.

The campaign will involve television spots, print ads and other media promoting the website www.friendflorida.org, which contains links to social media channels Facebook and YouTube and encourages visitors to “friend” Florida. Each of the 22 AAF-Fourth District’s Florida chapters will produce and distribute advertising directing people to www.friendflorida.org.

The entire campaign, including the media buys, will be on a pro-bono basis, Weber said.

The idea is people will better understand the state of the beaches if they hear it from someone they know.

Timing is right

The campaign is set to help Florida as it stands at a crossroads for tourism marketing.

Visit Florida, the state’s official tourism marketing organization, on July 18 spent the last of the $12 million it received out of BP’s $25 million grant to Florida for tourism advertising.

BP denied Gov. Charlie Crist’s June 30 request for another $50 million for tourism advertising and has yet to officially respond to further appeals for funding.

With funding still stuck in the sand, Visit Florida is trying to figure out its options.

“There’s little chance that without additional funding from BP, or some other sources, we would be able to continue at any level for the next couple of months,” said Visit Florida spokeswoman Kathy Torian.

In the meantime, hotels are taking their own steps to bring in customers and keep the public informed.

Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center in St. Pete Beach has its “Clean Beach Guarantee” that promises to waive early departure fees, allow a 6 p.m. cancellation on the same day of arrival and assist in finding other accommodations in event of a beachfront oil spill.

Negative perceptions around the country have shortened the booking window and cut into out-of-state group business, said Steve Rosenstock, marketing manager. “Everybody is losing some business because of the oil spill.”

Longboat Key Club & Resort has implemented its own “Clean Beach Guarantee” through the end of September that changed the cancellation policy from seven days prior to arrival to 24 hours.

Public Relations Manager Katherine Songster hopes the plan will increase people’s confidence.

“It’s a significant move on our part,” she said. “We want to make the consumer comfortable.”

While levels of business at the 218-room property are not dramatically different from a year ago, call volumes dropped at the height of negative press, Songster said.

Of particular concern was a call from a Tampa resident concerned about oil on Longboat Key beaches.

“We were all scratching our heads on that one,” Songster said. “It was a bit surprising someone so close to here had that perception.”

Multimedia experience
Pinellas County’s destination marketing organization Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater has taken a multimedia approach to keeping the public informed.
VSPC received $1.15 million from BP’s $25 million tourism advertising grant to Florida.
VSPC first increased the frequency of television and radio spots in the Tampa Bay and Orlando markets, which are the two major feeder markets for summer tourism.
VSPC’s efforts also have included “Wide Open” themed print ads with aerial images of clean beaches, a rotator board at Tropicana Field, e-mail blasts and search engine optimization to link the VSPC website to oil-free Web searches.
This week VSPC initiated “Underwater Updates,” short videos of footage from the reef system spanning the length of Pinellas County’s beaches.
The videos appeal to another important segment of area tourism, scuba tourism, VSPC Executive Director D.T. Minich said in a release.
Live Web cam images have been a component of both VSPC and Visit Florida’s efforts to inform the public.
— Margaret Cashill


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Mar 01
2009

MOVIE Clips Virtual Theatre Lobby created by CMR Studios

Nationally Distributed MOVIE Clips CD-ROM Campaign Wins GOLD

A virtual movie theater on CD created by Tampa video and integrated media production company CMR Studios won two ADDY® awards including a Gold for interactive campaigns in the Tampa Bay Ad Fed competition. The CMR Studios staff created all of the content and programmed the interactive disc, designed and modeled virtual sets that included a highly interactive movie theater lobby, theater, arcade, screening rooms, a studio backlot and comiceven the rooftop skyline of Batman’s Gotham City. One disc in the series also contained exclusive content for the High School Musical films created by CMR for Walt Disney Studios.

Host Debra Schrils was shot in the CMR Tampa Bay green screen studio using the RED ONE digital cinema camera then composited into all of the locations and guide viewers through the many entertainment  options and disc interactivity.

Over a million of the CD-ROMs were distributed nationwide in theater lobbies by Capitol Color Mail. Released seasonally, the interactive program features previews for upcoming features from all of the major motion picture studios, advance screenings, movie themed games, exclusive behind the scene features, and even a virtual Batman comic series by DC Comics.

Get the best longbow by following the link.

With over 60,000 entries annually, the ADDY® Awards is the world’s largest advertising competition. Conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation, the ADDYs represent the true spirit of creative excellence by recognizing all forms of advertising in all types of media. Read more about the geek culture, here.

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