Holland Mark Tackles Big Disney In First Ads For Bay State Tourism

In its inaugural work for the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, Holland Mark Martin Edmund attempts to lure visitors away from theme parks by portraying the Bay State as a place to “take a real vacation.”
A 60-second TV spot stars “Ducky,” a Disney-style spokescharacter. After touring some historic landmarks, enjoying some sports action and stopping by a Cheers-like pub, Ducky boards a bus for a tour of the Commonwealth.
A TV and print effort breaks next month in nearby markets, including Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; New York; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C. The ads will run through July, and media spending is expected to be in the $5-8 million range, said Chris Colbert, president of Boston-based Holland Mark.
“We wanted to remind people that our history, which is real, is still standing. It’s not computer-generated,” said Eric Gedstad, a representative of the tourism office.
The campaign’s strategy stems from research showing that families, particularly young ones, are looking for authentic getaways as opposed to corporate vacations, Colbert said. “We’re competing against Disney’s $600 million marketing budget . . . and every other state in the union.”
One print ad touting the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket depicts a boy collecting shells on a beach. “Not all souvenirs come with a registered trademark,” copy begins. “Mouse ears and pirate swords are soon forgotten, but collected seashells and lucky pebbles are treasures forever.”
Previous campaigns from the former Houston Herstek Favat used the tagline, “We’d love to show you around” and often highlighted a large number of Bay State communities and attractions in relatively few ads. Holland Mark has tried to take a more targeted approach, communicating brand and destination messages with touches of irony and humor, Colbert said.
Holland Mark won the account last spring after a review, unseating six-year incumbent Houston Herstek.