Ocean City Officials Launch ‘Somewhere To Smile About’ Rebranding Campaign

Ocean City Officials Launch ‘Somewhere To Smile About’ Rebranding Campaign
A municipal bus is pictured this week with a custom wrap representing the new rebranding effort. Photo by Bethany Hooper

OCEAN CITY – Resort leaders gathered this week to celebrate the launch of its rebranding campaign.

On Wednesday, town officials, advertising representatives and local stakeholders joined together at the Ocean City Inlet to celebrate the launch of Somewhere to Smile About, a rebranding campaign aimed at increasing awareness of and visitation to Ocean City. As the summer season approaches, Tourism and Business Development Director Tom Perlozzo said residents and visitors will see the town’s rebranding efforts in work.


“It’s really about celebrating Ocean City as somewhere to smile about,” Tourism and Business Development Director Tom Perlozzo

“We’ve fielded tons of questions about why rebrand, and I wanted to tell you a few things about why tourism is our super system here in Ocean City,” he said. “It’s an economic development driver, no question, it attracts, it’s a catalyst for moving our destination forward, and more importantly we’re able to compete in this very crowded marketplace.”

In December 2021, the Mayor and Council confirmed BVK Advertising as the successful bidder after a months-long process of finding a new firm, and the company hit the ground running. Since then, BVK has been working with the town’s tourism and marketing departments and private-sector stakeholders on efforts to rebrand Ocean City and develop strategies on how to not only retain its current visitors but attract new ones.

In November, BVK rolled out the town’s new slogan, Somewhere To Smile About, as well as a new smile logo reminiscent of the popular smiley face icon of the 1970s. And this week, Ocean City officials celebrated the launch of its campaign with a brand activation celebration, complete with displays, live music and popular Boardwalk foods such as French fries, saltwater taffy and caramel popcorn.

“Today is really your place, your vision …,” Perlozzo said. “It’s really about celebrating Ocean City as somewhere to smile about.”

Perlozzo not only recognized the support of the Mayor and Council, but the work of Ocean City staff and BVK officials. Victoria Simmons, senior vice president at BVK, said the goal of the rebranding effort is to build a stronger community and economy.

“As a marketing agency, we like to say our purpose is about improving lives, and we do that by partnering with all of you to build strong visitor communities …,” she said. “We are so humbled to be able to represent this community – such a carefree, close-knit, fun community – and what we do is stronger when we do it in collaboration with you.”

Officials say the coming months will be spent rebranding Ocean City as “Somewhere To Smile About.” The marketing campaign – which includes $5 million in paid media between April and November – will include social media posts, commercials, print and radio advertising, press trips, influencer programs and more.


The town will also launch its Catch A Ride initiative on May 26, National Road Trip Day. Visiting three feeder markets – Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore – BVK representatives will set up pop-up events that feature 1968 Volkswagen buses customized with the Ocean City logo, games and on-site giveaways, including a free trip to Ocean City.

“We’re coming out, and we’re going to kick some butt,” Perlozzo said.

Mayor Rick Meehan agreed, pointing to the wrapped buses, customized Volkswagen van and Perlozzo’s smiley face suit.

“As you can see we’re all in on this, from vans to buses to Tom’s suit … and I want to thank you all so much for being a part of it,” he said. “This is just the beginning. We’re going to push this forward and make it so we have a great year and a great future here in Ocean City.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.