Professor Michelle Roehm discusses Winston-Salem tourism advertisement placements in New York City

3.27.2011 Article, Faculty News, Marketing

Local tourism officials make a Big Apple pitch
Reposted from Winston-Salem Journal

Winston-Salem tourism officials are hoping that a blend of eclectic arts, scenic getaways and history will be compelling enough to persuade New Yorkers to come on down for the weekend.

Visit Winston-Salem is launching a multifaceted media campaign next month, topped by a five-second advertisement running on the giant two-story television screen outside ABC studios in Times Square.

The spot features the slogan "Wonderful weekends in Winston-Salem. Strike the right balance." Signs from Old Salem, with downtown in the background, and the dining area outside the Stevens Center are featured.

"Having Winston-Salem on the giant screen in Times Square is a huge branding and marketing opportunity for us in the largest market in the world, along with the ad in the New York Post," said Richard Geiger, the president of Visit Winston-Salem.

"It's something we've never done for this community."

The bureau secured the marketing package through Horizon Travel Magazine at a cost of $2,385 — less than 10 percent of the package's normal value, it said.

The advertising spot will run 120 times on the TV screen from April 11 to 17. An estimated 1.5 million people visit Times Square daily.

The package also includes a half-page ad and a half-page advertorial in the April edition of the magazine that also is being inserted into 100,000 New York Post newspapers.

The visual part of the commercial also will serve as an online banner ad in the magazine in April and May.

The advertorial begins by mentioning what New Yorkers already may know about Winston-Salem, such as Wake Forest University, Maya Angelou, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

It then states, "Just in the last decade, Winston-Salem's downtown landscape has transformed itself into a hip haven sporting a wide array of locally owned restaurants, intimate performing-arts theaters and eclectic art galleries — a pleasant surprise for even big-city dwellers seeking a respite."

Marcheta Keefer, the bureau's director of marketing and communications, said that the goal is to encourage New Yorkers to consider Winston-Salem "as a wonderful place to stop and unwind."

"We were also very deliberate including 'in the heart of North Carolina' in the copy, as well as in our logo, as the North Carolina brand resonates so strongly with this audience."

Keefer said that the bureau targeted April for the campaign because as spring arrives in New York, that's when "pent-up demand to travel to a warmer destination is at fever pitch."

John Sweeney, the director of the sports-communication program at UNC Chapel Hill, said he thinks the bureau will get a good bang-for-the-buck return on the Times Square marketing pitch.

Sweeney said that five seconds should be enough to get the attention of passers-by even in fast-paced New York City.

"The real point is the publicity wave that can come from it," Sweeney said. "How many places can say 'We ran an ad on a two-story television in Times Square'?

"The ad runs on New York television, and it's business as usual. The ad runs on a huge Times Square television display, and it's an advertising mega-event.

"It's a great way to generate interest by the very fact you did it, and all for under $3,000. What a great idea."

The marketing reach of the Times Square ad could extend beyond New Yorkers because it also will be seen by tourists visiting the city, said Michelle Roehm, a marketing professor and a senior associate dean of faculty at the Schools of Business at Wake Forest University.

"The Times Square placement, though it has a buzz factor and a theoretically large potential audience, is unlikely to influence New Yorkers directly to book a trip to Winston-Salem," Roehm said. "Keep in mind that many of the people populating that area on a daily basis are tourists.

"Moreover, a mini-vacation to a new place is likely to require more involvement than a five-second ad can support, though it may plant the seed of an idea."

That's why Roehm said that the print ads are likely to be more successful. "I would look to the ad in the Post as the driver of impact for this campaign," she said.