"With love," marketing Philadelphia

May 12, 2009 3:45:54 PM PDT
A new $2.5 million ad campaign targets summer tourists.

And it kicks off this week.

"We are and we intend to make Philadelphia and the countryside a premier destination," said Meryl Levitz of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

The campaign is called "With love, Philadelphia," and here's the concept: the city is an old friend, writing love letters on bus stops, billboards and street banners inviting you for an overnight stay in town. The ads will read like this:

"Dear mini shampoo collectors, our hotels have them and really fluffy pillows, stay over. With love, Philadelphia."

The campaign, which promotes everything from hotels to the Phillies to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is a direct response to the economic downturn which has done some damage to tourism over the past year.

"We're still seeing tourists come to Rouge but we're seeing less of them," said restaurant spokeswoman Juliet Conti.

"People are looking for ways to save money and travel is typically the first thing that gets cut," said Annette Aramini-Masso of the Crowne Plaza Hotel Philadelphia Downtown.

There are fifty-four love letters in all, each inviting you to a specific Philadelphia experience. The campaign targets people most likely to travel during a recession, like the Grubbs, who extended their business visit to absorb some of Philadelphia's history.

"It's too bad all the kids from America can't go through this because seeing that history is something so important in our lives," said Ed Grubbs. "Here I am, I'm 60 years old and I'd never seen the Liberty Bell until today."

The new campaign is not cheap. The GPTMC will spend about $2.5 million this summer. But local businesses believe it is worth the investment.

"It's a new twist on ways they've done it in the past," said Rouge's Conti. "And I think it reaches different audiences."

The advertisements will begin running on May 18th.

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