Social Media Spends Spring Break in Panama City Beach

With the unofficial Hoboken, N.J., headquarters of WebNewser being pelted by snow for the third time in the past few weeks, thoughts turned to the beach — Panama City Beach, Fla., specifically.

The vacation destination in northwest Florida spends the bulk of its $2.5 million advertising budget on pushing itself as a year-round family destination, reports, but it also set aside some of that money to assist the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau with its campaign targeting spring break.

REVISED Feb. 27, 5:30 p.m. ET: In their attempt to draw college students, a co-op of local business owners set up a Website, a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a YouTube page, a Flickr account, and a blog.

According to, the co-op tried to raise $150,000 to promote spring break, but only came up with about one-half of that amount, until the CVB donated some of its budget to the cause.

The CVB also has a Website dedicated to spring break.

Local restaurateur Jack Bishop, who helped to form the co-op, told

We have had public-sector funding for marketing spring break for many years here and, finally, political correctness mislabeled spring break with every bad thing that ever happened. So we put together a private-sector effort, and we did it all with social marketing, no hard advertising. I’m 66 years old, and I have very little knowledge about social media, but even I know this is what reaches kids between 18 and 22. Traditional marketing companies don’t understand what spring break is. added that New York-based marketing firm Jennifer Barbee is handling social-media marketing for the CVB and the co-op, and Arizona-based Collegiate Marketing Group is responsible for promotion, bringing in cast members from The Hills and Jersey Shore to make appearances in and around Panama City Beach during spring break.