NEW YORK A lot of unusual items have been seen making their way down New York's East River, but the Loch Ness Monster has never been one of them. Until now.
In a series of ads touting the weeklong promotional event that is Tartan Day, New York shop Green Team aims to show consumers all the ways Scotland can come to Gotham, in the hopes that they might consider returning the favor. The second annual Tartan Day event, which culminates April 5 in Dewar's Tunes of Glory Parade down the Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, is the brainchild of its sponsor, VisitScotland, the country's tourist board based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dewar's Whiskey is co-sponsoring this year's event.
"VisitScotland's intention is not to draw as many people to the parade as possible; it is to use the parade itself to stimulate interest in Scotland, so people will think of Scotland as a vacation destination," said Milton Kapelus, executive vice president at Green Team.
The 3,000-4,000 bagpipers and drummers marching from 43rd to 45th Streets ends a week of Scottish-related seminars, fashion shows and readings with a bang, said Kapelus. Bystanders enjoying the spectacle will sip coffee from tartan-covered cups and receive postcards of lush Scottish scenery from kilt-clad actors, he said.
In addition, a tartan-wrapped double-decker bus will move through the city promoting the event, he said. A sweepstakes sponsored by American Airlines and the Far & Wide travel group will award a trip for two to Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Print ads for the event broke this week in subway cars and on platforms. In one ad, entitled "MacMonroe," a kilt-clad Scotsman stands over a subway grate while the wind blows his tartan over his knees. In another, Nessie paddles up the East River. A six-page insert in The New York Times Sunday edition of March 30 will herald the event and detail the pleasures of a Scottish vacation, Kapelus said.
"We do a major push in the spring to stimulate travel for the summer," Kapelus said. VisitScotland ads run year-round in travel periodicals, as well as educational magazines like Smithsonian. "We target a slightly older, well traveled, better educated audience," he said. "People who have already traveled to Europe. It's not usually a first Europe experience."