OCEAN CITY – Ocean City’s new website is on schedule, and the launch date has been set.
The town’s new $178,000 website will be launched on May 11 to coincide with the launch of this year’s television and radio advertising, according to MGH President Andy Malis, who previewed screen shots of the new site at the Tourism Commission meeting last week.
“We will be live on May 11,” said Malis, “and though the site will never technically be finished, per say, as we will always be adding new features, the bulk of what people are going to be using the site for will be ready to go then.”
The website will be incredibly interactive, featuring a backdrop of the famous Boardwalk and will integrate a vintage color scheme of blue and orange, with an airplane appearing to pull the navigation bar across the screen, while “postcard” photos scrolling like a carousel will act as the focal point of the main screen when they click to www.ococean.com.
Malis said that each of those postcards would flip when clicked upon to show information and give the users options that they are looking for while they navigate through the new site.
The MGH president said all of the advertising (radio, television and print) will be drawing visitors to the new website, so it was obviously imperative to have the ads and the website launch at the same time.
“We feel very strongly that the advertising campaign must not only demonstrate the fun of a vacation to Ocean City, but also remind people and motivating them to take a vacation,” said Malis. “In these economic times, we realize that life is really stressful right now, and people need a vacation very badly.”
Also previewed at the meeting were two of the 30-second television advertisements that will be seen in five major markets throughout the summer, and the two are focused around the creation of a character that will be essentially the new face of Ocean City tourism.
Rodney the lifeguard, played by a muscular actor from New York City who was booked to be the face of the campaign by MGH, will be the main character in the ads. Although both spots take a quirky and perhaps comical angle, initial reaction to the spots has been positive.
“From what I understand, Rodney is very popular with the ladies and the early response to his character and the spots has been great,” he said.
In one of the spots, Rodney runs into a corporate office and drags out a worker in hopes of saving him from his “boredom” and getting him to Ocean City. The other sees Rodney, who runs into the shot in slow-motion reminiscent and perhaps pokes fun at the popular Baywatch slow motion shots, pull a woman out of gridlock traffic and carries her off the highway and takes her to Ocean City as motorists look on in a befuddled manner.
Both television spots are built around the slogan of “Ocean City will breathe life back into your life”, and Rodney is saving people from boredom, which as much as the description may need a visual, the ads stand out when compared to other resort advertisements, according to Malis.
“The theme of the site is OC-ASAP, telling folks to get to Ocean City as soon as possible,” said Malis, “so we have established ways to make it interactive for users so they can find actual things to do when they come to town, such as the ‘what’s close feature.’”
That feature will show people what is nearby the hotel they are staying in, or restaurants or activities that are chosen in efforts to essentially cross-market nearby businesses rather that just showcase the one selected.
All descriptions of local businesses that are on the site, will be managed by the properties themselves, so each company, hotel, restaurant that is on the site, will be given a password and have the capabilities of changing their information shown on the site at their leisure, according to Malis.
“We really looked at every tourism site and tried to find the best features, and we invented a number of new ones that others haven’t done before to create a very exciting and a very dynamic site that I think you will be very proud of,” he said.