OCEAN CITY –The “end of the world” campaign was a success, said advertising agency MGH last week, reporting that the unique ad campaign succeeded in achieving its intended goal, catching people’s attention.
Ocean City and advertising firm MGH rolled out the red carpet on the most recent ad campaign last month, presenting a new twist on reaching potential vacationers in an effort to draw tourists to the resort in an increasingly difficult economic time. The “end of the world” approach focused on the notion that the world’s oceans will evaporate in one billion years, due to an inevitable pull towards the sun. As a result, “we urge citizens to book their Ocean City, MD trip now – before the oceans disappear,” says Mayor Rick Meehan in the commercial.
The commercial features Meehan in a dated public service announcement, in which he urges vacationers to take advantage of the oceans while they still can by visiting Ocean City. Scenes of ocean related fun that will come to an end in one billion years, such as the beach, seafood, and swimming and fishing are featured in the commercial, with further emphasis on fun activities, such as golf, that will still be available in the absence of the Atlantic Ocean.
The 60-second commercial was featured on all the major networks during a one-week time period last month, as well as the top 10 cable systems, top 10 radio shows in each market, with a print ad featured in the top newspapers in each market.
The commercial was also available online, via morefunhere.com or youtube.com.
“It was really just a tongue and cheek effort to get attention,” said MGH President Andy Malis this week.
The million-dollar ad campaign focused on a “road block” approach, targeting a mass audience in a short amount of time.
As of this week, there were 62,317 views reported on youtube. Malis explained that the views only count if you watch the entire commercial. The youtube commercial also sparked 176 comments on the site.
According to Malis, the campaign also generated 47 million impressions and free public relations exposure, which included two interviews with Meehan on Fox News.
MGH and Ocean City Public Relations Director Donna Abbott were also able to negotiate an additional $200,000 in added value placements, as well as an additional 125 placements that resulted in 15 million unpaid impressions across the country.
Results were also seen on the morefunhere.com website, reported Malis. In June 2007, the site received 8.7 million hits compared to this June, which generated 19.5 million hits. Page views also went up, from 882,135 hits in June 2007 to 6.2 million hits in June 2008. Time on site increased from an average of 8.5 minutes to 13.5 minutes, with the directions page getting the most hits, as the most frequently viewed content page. Malis added that 73 percent of the people who visited the site during the month of June were new to the site, a result they were hoping for with the premier of the campaign.
Although the numbers show the commercial was popular and successful in catching people’s attention, not all of the members of the Tourism Commission were convinced of it’s success.
Ruth Waters of the Tourism Development Board reported that they did not see immediate affects from the campaign, as was hoped for. “We didn’t see that call to action,” she said.
Malis maintained however that the commercial met all the anticipated goals, making a significant impact during a difficult economic time.
“The problem everybody is facing is it’s hard to know what good is right now,” said Malis. “Had we not done this, where would we be today.”