On April 15 the Atlantic City Alliance (ACA) relaunches it’s $20 million tourism campaign to spur spring/summer travel to the seaside resort destination. Just one year ago this month, the ACA introduced a new campaign for AC – “Do Anything. Do Everything. Do AC.” – to broaden the image of the destination beyond just gaming and to attract more leisure tourism, to Liza Cartmel, the Alliance president, told the Atlantic City business community at a breakfast meeting today.
The second year of Atlantic City’s tourism campaign features all new TV, radio, print, digital and out of home advertising in the New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia DMAs. The advertising campaign’s call to action remains the same, “Do AC.” Extending the ad buy reach will be social media, communications, corporate partnerships, a new event roster and a soon-to-debut, multi-city “Do AC” roadshow.
Building upon last year, the marketing campaign will create even more urgency to visit “now” by focusing on a myriad of experiences and events throughout the iconic oceanfront destination. The goal is to drive people to book a trip. Atlantic City is also adding gaming back into the marketing mix to emphasize one of the activities that distinguishes AC from other getaways. Last year’s campaign debuted without gaming since gaming is what people would have expected from an AC marketing campaign. The campaign was created by Havas in New York City and the media was placed by Havas Media.
New TV and radio spots and full-page ads evolve from a brand identity campaign to a brand and event driven campaign. The new creative features event listings and the “AC To Do” list.
ACA is working to support and market destination defining events, like the Atlantic City Airshow, and is launching a robust series of new events designed to drive visitation off-season and mid-week. (Editor’s note: ACA announced on 4/9 a series of events in a separate release).
The digital, online ads will shift the emphasis from web site ad banners to more deeply integrated brand content. In addition, “Do AC” will make its way to travel sites such as Trip Advisor and Expedia.
Social media will include more crowd sourcing from AC’s growing social community. AC’s social media campaign now expands to Pinterest, Foursquare and a new video series on YouTube.
Hyper-local PR agencies in New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia will focus on reshaping perceptions about AC. They will also promote a new “Do AC” roadshow and develop direct to consumer activations in each of their markets. The “Do AC” road show will launch in early June. The agencies are Crenshaw Communications in New York, Sandy Hillman Communications in Baltimore and Cashman and Associates in Philadelphia.
A lingering challenge comes from Hurricane Sandy. Atlantic City’s national image took a hit due to sensational, out-of-context and (at times) erroneous news reports about the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk, which is still intact and as beautiful as ever. The perceptions of a damaged city linger, making this spring/summer ad campaign a crucial part of the efforts to increase visitation and revenue.
According to the Division of Gaming Enforcement, highlights for 2012 versus 2011 include:
Ø Casino Hotel Non-Gaming Revenues grew 2.8%
Ø Sales by Third Party Businesses rose 39%
Ø Occupied room nights exceeded 5.2 million, a new annual record and 2.6% growth over 2011
Ø Three Atlantic City Tourism Indicators grew between 6% and 12.6%
For the past three years (2010-2012) there are six critical tax and fee indicators that measure the health of the AC tourism business. In 2012, for the first time since the Great Recession and since the expansion of gaming in nearby states, Atlantic City saw significant growth in five indicators—all except gaming revenue. While gaming revenue is an important indicator, it has been significantly impacted by the proliferation of gaming options in nearby states. However, positive growth in the other indicators is showing that the market is diversifying, attracting greater tourism business in non-gaming activities as reflected in the increases in the five other tourism indicators.
First year results are impressive in several key indicators. The campaign’s target audience, known as “fun seekers,” report an increased interest in visiting Atlantic City and that their perception of the beach resort is expanding beyond gaming to include a variety of visitor attractions.
Since the launch of the campaign, Atlantic City now has a higher degree of awareness among potential visitors (above 80%) in several key categories: “a great getaway all-year round” and for “a variety of appealing activities” and as “a great place for a quick spontaneous getaway.” In addition, respondents say that Atlantic City appears cleaner and more sophisticated than before the campaign began
Developing Atlantic City’s social media properties and increasing followers was a huge priority in the first year.
Ø Atlantic City’s social community as of the end of 2012 totaled over 428,000+. This included Facebook, Twitter and Instagram networks.
Ø Facebook fans increased by 919% from 39,643 to 404,070.
Ø Twitter followers increased by 815% from 2,488 to 22,774.
Ø Engagement across both Facebook and Twitter increased over 25 times and AC mentions increased 37%.
Ø Social media increased visitation to www.doatlanticcity.com by 125% each month.
Atlantic City Alliance is a privately funded nonprofit led by a Board of Trustees that includes one representative from each casino corporation in Atlantic City. The organization’s annual budget is $30 million. The mission of the ACA is to revitalize and rebuild Atlantic City’s reputation and to broaden the destination’s appeal beyond gaming to a multi-night, year-round destination in order to drive increased visitation.
The goal of the five-year campaign is to make visitors aware of the spectacular oceanfront location of Atlantic City and the wide variety of visitor activities and amenities available year-round. The ACA is also responsible for creating signature citywide events, as well as the critically acclaimed, free 3D sound and light shows projected nightly on the façade of Historic Boardwalk Hall. The ACA has partnered with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to create temporary art parks, called ARTLANTIC: wonder, on currently underutilized privately owned lots to enhance the tourism offerings in Atlantic City as contemplated in the CRDA Master Plan.
From sandals to stilettos and foie gras to funnel cakes, Atlantic City offers something for everyone. Enjoy world-class entertainment, dining, shopping, gaming, relaxing on the beach and strolling the historic Boardwalk in the city created to escape the city. For more information visit www.doatlanticcity.com or:
- Facebook – www.facebook.com/AtlanticCityNJ
- Twitter – www.twitter.com/VisitAC
- Foursquare – www.foursquare.com/VisitAC
- Instagram – www.instagram.com/DOAC
- Pinterest – www.instagram.com/DoAtlanticCity
The Atlantic City Alliance was established in 2011 as a private, not-for-profit corporation whose primary mission is to develop and implement a full-scale, broad-based, multi-year marketing program for Atlantic City.