Here Comes the Sun:  Fla. Touts Tourism

NEW YORK Visit Florida, the Sunshine State’s tourism marketing company, this week will break its first national TV campaign, “Discover our Sunshine State. Rediscover yours.” Spending on the effort, via Fahlgreen, Tampa, Fla., is $9 million, per Visit Florida, Tallahassee, Fla.

TV spots, which include ads targeting Hispanic and African American travelers, include placements on NBC, ABC, Discovery, BET and Galavision. The work focuses on New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston and Washington. Print will support.

Visit Florida is also developing a social networking community to help build buzz about the campaign. Ten experts on Florida were recruited to blog on about special interests such as arts and culture, boating and fishing, shopping and nightlife, beach and surf, family travel, offbeat Florida locations and events, golf and the outdoors. Consumers can query the bloggers for recommendations. The Web site, handled by Miles Media, Sarasota, Fla., also includes trip-planning tools and a section where visitors can share photos and videos. A quarterly contest will offer a trip to Fort Lauderdale. Extras include a free downloadable ringtone of the “Sunshine” campaign song.

“One of our core objectives was to give the consumer a voice on this Web site, which is right in line with the whole trend in social networking,” said Leon Corbett, director of advertising and direct marketing at Visit Florida.

Ads will leverage the Sunshine State’s nickname with visuals of a bright light bathing vacationers partaking in Florida activities. Corbett said the TV campaign would put Florida in a good position to boost tourism amid economic uncertainty.