Friday, June 11, 2010

How Do You Advertise an Oily Beach?

Escambia County commissioners bickered and snarled and traded accusations last night. Then they "approved spending $700,000 in BP funds for tourism advertising to get the word out nationally about the oil spill's impact on the beaches."

Jamie Page has the story ["Oil spill: Commission OKs spending $700K in BP funds on tourism"]
The money is to produce television commercials on the current state of local shores. The ads are to run in Pensacola's major metro feeder markets, such as Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans.
The real tourist entertainment was inside the commissioners' meeting.
On Monday, Commission Chairman Grover Robinson IV complained: "This ad campaign should have gone out last week and that money should have been spent. But now it has to have board approval because one member is creating a stink. It's crazy."

On Thursday, before the commission vote, Valentino lashed out at Robinson for putting the blame on him.
And so forth. The oil offshore has everyone on edge and looking for someone else to blame.

It's BP's fault, people! They had a plan to save walruses and sea lions, not the people and sea life of the Gulf Coast.

Seven hundred grand is a lot to throw away on Atlanta television stations, with Pensacola ad agencies taking their usual cut. We have to wonder if all that cash wouldn't be better spent by divvying it up among the beach businesses; particularly if it turns out the ads will be airing just as the oil inundates local beaches.

How do you advertise an oily beach? Bearing in mind the serious advice from the very un-serious "BPGlobal PR", what can you say?

"It isn't as bad as Louisiana?"
"Not as dumb as Mississippi?"

"BP tries to clean our beaches whenever it feels like it?"

Word has it the state of Florida is embarking on an ad campaign whose essential theme is, "Florida Beaches: Come see for yourself." That might attract coastal morphologists, biologists, and others in the scientific community. But they're already here, seeing for themselves.

What other kinds of tourists can we target?
  • For beach weddings: "Our ministers bathe with soap regularly!"
  • Families with children on limited vacation time: "For a great time, visit our beaches at low tide!"
  • Reckless young people looking for a high time: "Tarballs: Mother Nature's answer to every addiction."
Who else? How about TV ads aimed at all of those "drill, baby, drill" delegates at the '08 Republican Convention? "Florida Beaches: Come get what you asked for."

Here's a hot promotional idea that will appeal to them: oil and violence!

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