Friday, January 05, 2007

Panama City Spin

UPDATED BELOW

The schizophrenic personality of Panama City Beach is evident in the Real Estate section of today's New York Times, right from the get-go. Using an unexpected simile, Julia Lawlor likens our distant eastern neighbor to a fashion model like one of these.

She writes --
Like a supermodel showing off her good side, Panama City Beach is not shy about flaunting its most valuable asset. “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches,” boasts the sign at the end of Hathaway Bridge, which leads into the city.

But anyone driving through this resort on the Florida Panhandle can’t fail to notice the honky-tonk strip on the main drag, Thomas Drive: video arcades, body piercing shops, tattoo parlors, adult novelty shops, down-at-the-heels motels, vacant lots. [print version here]

Of course, city boosters don't market Panama City as an anorexic Victoria Beckham, much less a schizophrenic. They prefer to spin it as a 'town in transition' climbing the social ladder.
“We’re going from what used to be a blue-collar resort and sharing that with a higher-end customer,” said Bob Warren, president of the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The good news?
“Spring breakers are a lot better behaved,” said Patrick Pfeffer, who owns Club La Vela.
The bad news? Pfeffer actually boasts --
“You don’t see as much nudity and throwing TVs out of the windows.”
Huh. Imagine that.

It must be challenging to market Panama City as a "family resort" when the local papers are filled with news that a Panama City judge has dismissed over thirty felony and misdemeanor charges against the film-makers of the notorious "Girls Gone Wild" video. The video was filmed in 2003, presumably before Spring breakers cut back, some, on their nudity and TV smashing.

Allegations included charges that the film-makers turned their cameras on under-aged intoxicated Panama City female visitors. The judge dismissed the charges not because they might not be true, or that the video isn't disgusting; and not because the video isn't marketed with all sleazy tricks pioneered by The Video Professor.

No, she dismissed the charges on the grounds that Panama City cops were "intentionally misleading or reckless with the facts" when they applied for a search warrant to gather evidence.

That's not the kind of law enforcement behavior likely to be of much help to a beach town longing for Resort Respectability.

UPDATE
March 28, 2007

Hooking Freebies on Panama City Beach
Libby Copeland explores the aggressive commercial marketing that infects Panama City Beach every year at Spring Break. It's an "ocean of promotion" she says.

7 comments:

P.K. Olson - Atlanta said...

Have to ask how is it better to cover the beach with high-rise condos instead of strip joints and nudie bars since both are obscene violations of nature.

Inertia Chad said...

I agree with P.K...what's the author's point? Spring Break = college students = more education = better jobs = more money = they travel more = future "family" business = INCREDIBLY smart marketing!!! I'd say PCB has it right. Do you want high rises you never see anyone at, and closed restaurants since the snowbirds are too cheap to ever eat out? What IS your point? Not everyone can pull off nor be "Miama Beach" and how boring would that be? Our Company actually promotes South Padre Island, Texas which is "on the fence" about spring break, and when you read the first thing I wrote you can see that is retarded at best. Inertia Tours Chad...OUT!

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