McLaughlin Pushing Connecticut

The Connecticut Office of Tourism changed agencies last year but its first work from McLaughlin, Delvecchio & Casey continues to promise that the state is “Full of surprises.”

Print ads by McLaughlin, the New Haven, Conn., shop that won the $6 million account following a review, recently broke.

McLaughlin reassessed the office’s use of the “Connecticut: We’re full of surprises” theme. The agency, along with marketing consultant Bill O’Neal, conducted surveys of visitors at attractions around the state and concluded past ads weren’t getting the appropriate message across to tourists.

“We found out that a lot of people didn’t understand what that meant in a tangible way—they didn’t understand what to do when they came here,” said McLaughlin spokeswoman Nicky McHugh.

The “surprises” positioning in recent campaigns had been crafted by long-time Connecticut tourism agency O’Neal & Prelle. The Hartford, Conn., shop, where O’Neal once served as a principal, closed last summer.

McLaughlin’s campaign adds to the theme by making suggestions for specific getaways around the state—from seaside towns like Mystic and Norwalk to the Mark Twain House in Hartford to the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos.

Each ad shows pictures of various attractions and activities and ends with, “Few other places on earth offer so much to see and do in such a small area.”

The ads will run in Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, Travel & Leisure New England, Yankee Travel Guide and other women’s and travel magazines.

A separate set of newspaper ads is slated to break in June. McLaughlin is beginning work on 30-second TV ads set to break at the end of May in New York and Connecticut. Radio spots are also on tap. The agency will also handle direct mail promotions for the client. The “Full of surprises” theme is also featured on the ctbound.org, Web site, which McLaughlin enhanced to give visitors information on the state’s attractions, accommodations and special events.

Separately, ads have been launched by Market New Haven in an effort to promote that Connecticut city’s attractions [See page 7].