Travel Industry Association
Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation’s
Philly’s Got BENergy!
Campaign Receives 2006 TIA Odyssey Award
An innovative marketing campaign which expanded the 300th birthday of founding father Ben Franklin into a year-long celebration has netted a 2006 Odyssey Award from the Travel Industry Association (TIA) to the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC).
TIA, in partnership with National Geographic Traveler, presents the awards to recognize the best in the tourism industry.
According to Meryl Levitz, GPTMC’s CEO, two key factors contributed to the success of the campaign. First, “nobody doesn’t like Ben,” Levitz said. “The thing that made it work is how contemporary Ben Franklin is – he is multi-dimensional.”
An equally important element, Levitz noted, was “because Philadelphia has always had its eye on preservation, there are so many places related to Ben Franklin that people could see.”
A special exhibition on Franklin at the National Constitution Center provided an anchor to build travel packages and to encourage exhibit-goers to tour Ben-related sites in the city. As enthusiasm for the campaign spread, the product was extended by new offerings which sprang up from partners throughout the city. “Yards Brewing Company even made ‘Ben Franklin Tavern Spruce’ using Franklin’s beer recipe,” Levitz said.
Other offerings included Ben’s Birthday Hotel Package; Ben specials on menus at 65 restaurants; Ben’s Birthday Bulletin (listing 100+ Ben offerings); a Ben walking tour; Ben’s Traveling Trunk entertaining children at 30 public sites; and 300 mini-parties throughout the birthday weekend.
A $1 million grant from the office of Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell provided funding to develop a marketing campaign that included communications, advertising and special promotions. The campaign centered around the theme
"Philly’s Got BENergy!"
"The media got behind it early on when they saw there was no end of articles that could be written about Ben Franklin,” Levitz said.
Media activities included press conferences, two press trips, a birthday cake bake-off, media lunches in New York and Washington D.C. and one-on-one media pitches to more than 100 outlets.
A particularly creative addition to the press kit was Ben Franklin’s "resume,” which noted that Franklin completed only two years of elementary education and his objective was to “secure a challenging position in which I can apply my collaboration, mediation and relationship-building skills to create a better world.”
Another imaginative promotion involved sending street-marketing teams to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, New York City and Boston to build awareness. The “BENergy brigade” included entertainment and handing out information on “Ben Events.”
"We also had ‘Ben tattoos’ – temporary tattoos of things related to Ben like bifocals or lightening bolts. The kids loved them,” Levitz said.
In Harrisburg, the “BENergy brigade” handed out birthday cake and event information to the Pennsylvania State Legislature, and in New York City, the celebration was promoted under the Madison Square banner.
Adding to the “bring Ben to life” element of the campaign was Ralph Archbold. Archbold, who has portrayed Franklin for 25 years, appeared at numerous events and “showed how approachable a historic figure could be,” Levitz said.
Tracking the promotion’s outcome was a requirement of the state’s grant, and the results were tremendous. More than 1,650 stories appeared in media around the country including the Associated Press, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe and New York Times. Ben graced the cover of eight magazines and appeared on Good Morning America, the CBS Nightly News, the Weather Channel and the Colbert Report.
Increased hotel stays, ticket sales and economic impact were also documented including:
- 200,000 people attended the exhibition, 42% from out-of-market.
- 39% of those interviewed at the Ben exhibition were staying overnight in the Philadelphia area (27% in a hotel, 12% with friends or relatives).
- 1,395 room nights for Ben’s Birthday Hotel Package were booked directly on the tourism office’s web site, generating $217,000 in hotel revenue.
- 73% of visitors interviewed at the Ben exhibition were first-time visitors to the National Constitution Center – proving Ben to be a tourism draw.
- 89% of visitors were “very satisfied” (56%) or “satisfied” (33%) with their visit to Philadelphia.
- Gophila.com/ben, received 187,540 visits and Gophila.com/pressroom/ben received 16,197 visits.
- Ben Franklin event calendars and guides were downloaded 26,000 times.
- 49,500 additional visits to historic sites were documented.
"There is a lot from the Ben promotion that can continue,” Levitz said. "Ben gave Philadelphia a great story to tell and allowed us to show off our best traits: history, old-world charm, great food, outstanding museums and a sense of fun. He generated a tidal wave of press which will influence travelers for quite a while.”
Travel Oregon Receives TIA Odyssey Award
for Bounty Campaign
Travel Oregon’s successful Oregon Bounty campaign is the recipient of one of TIA’s Odyssey Awards for 2006. Given in partnership with National Geographic Traveler, the award is made to organizations that represent excellence in tourism.
The 2006 campaign provided behind-the-scenes access to Oregon’s culinary artists through special experience packages available only in October and November. The packages are designed to offer travelers weekends with people who grow, catch, produce and create Oregon’s bountiful products. Visitors can enjoy such activities as crushing grapes with a vintner, turning curds with an artisan cheese maker, rolling truffles with an experienced chocolatier or strolling through a farmer’s market with a chef to choose produce for a private cooking class.
"Connecting visitors with our people makes an Oregon getaway memorable,” said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. “The Oregon Bounty experience packages take guests from being mere observers to participants.”
Oregon Bounty is the most extensive joint tourism promotion in the state’s history. Each of the state’s seven tourism regions have joined together to expand the scope of the promotion. In 2005, 72 percent of participating wineries saw an increase in tasting room visits, and sales of Oregon wines increased by 20 percent over the previous year.
Partners include the Oregon Wine Board, Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild, Brand Oregon, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the state’s regional tourism organizations, restaurants, lodging properties, wineries and visitor attractions throughout the state.
For more information, visit www.traveloregon.com/bounty.
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