Council Approves $25K For Grassroots Welcome Back Campaign

Council Approves $25K For Grassroots Welcome Back Campaign
File photo by Chris Parypa

OCEAN CITY — While the Town of Ocean City’s official marketing campaign has shifted from the stay at home message to more of a welcome back message, a grassroots sister campaign showing real people doing real jobs to ensure the town’s businesses are safe for visitors is being launched.

The Mayor and Council had before them on Monday a request from the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) to utilize $25,000 already earmarked in the town’s tourism department budget for a “We are Ready for You” digital campaign. The advertising spots, which will complement the town’s official “Open Arms” campaign created by its advertising agency MGH, are being coordinated by the Town of Ocean City, Worcester County Tourism, the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (OCHMRA) and TAB.

“TAB created a task force to jointly move forward with the town and the OCHMRA,” said TAB Chairman Steve Pastusak. “We came up with an advertising agenda to run in conjunction with the MGH campaign. These 30-second spots will complement the town of Ocean City ads produced by MGH. The town’s ‘Open Arms’ campaign will feature the mayor and these will be organic and authentic with no actors.”

Pastusak said TAB was seeking $25,000 from the town’s tourism department budget to help fund the campaign’s spots, which are being featured in digital platforms such as Hulu, Apple TV, YouTube TV and Amazon Fire TV, among several others. The total budget for the campaign is $50,000 and the Worcester County Tourism and Economic Development Department has already committed $25,000.

While the town’s “Open Arms” campaign created by MGH largely features Mayor Rick Meehan and the welcome back message for visitors, the “We are Ready for You” campaign features real Ocean City workers taking measures to make the town’s hotels, restaurants, amusements and other attractions safe.

“During these unpredictable times, we need to do all we can to ensure that our community survives,” said Pastusak. “The ‘Getting Ready’ and ‘We’re Ready’ campaign is digital and is designed to feature real people and businesses showing what they are doing to get ready by highlighting the health and safety enhancements being taken throughout Ocean City. The intent is to instill a level of comfort among visitors and to encourage advanced bookings so guests know when they are ready to travel, Ocean City will be ready for them.”

The council voted 6-0 with Councilman John Gehrig recusing himself to approve the $25,000 allocation for the grassroots campaign.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.