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Will Seccombe
VISIT FLORIDA’s New Ad Campaign Celebrates the Power of Stories

By on February 7th, 2013 — 2:45pm

Today, I am pleased to announce VISIT FLORIDA has unveiled our new brand campaign that captures all the feelings of a Florida vacation experience in just four words: Must Be the Sunshine.  There is nothing more powerful than a personal story being shared directly with others, and so at its core ‘Must Be the Sunshine’ is a storytelling campaign.

The first television commercial, which will air in Detroit during Sunday’s Grammy Awards show, lands the viewer in the afterglow of an epic Florida family vacation.  In the months ahead – via TV, cinema, radio and print, as well as jumbotrons, subway station takeovers, commuter train wraps and even an interactive online game – ‘Must Be the Sunshine’ will remind people why Florida vacations make great stories.

“Unlike other destinations, we don’t have to invent the narratives,” said Susannah Costello, VISIT FLORIDA Vice President of Brand.  “People are telling great Florida vacation stories all the time.  This campaign capitalizes on that insight.”

The message has inspired some major participants.  Several of Florida’s heavyweights – Disney, Universal, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, along with the Viva Florida 500 initiative, Florida State Parks and many other key tourism businesses – are all partnering together for the first time in the same TV ad.  Besides Sunday in Detroit, the commercial will play in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Dallas on such programs as the Today Show, Good Morning America, American Idol and The Big Bang Theory.

The brand launch is the first major product of VISIT FLORIDA’s creative relationship with Miami’s SapientNitro.  Hired in December 2011 for its digital marketing prowess with such brands as Coca-Cola and Nike, Sapient traveled the state to report on visitors’ vacation inspirations and turned that research into advertising that is rich in color and personal experiences.

The focus on storytelling at VISIT FLORIDA has been an evolution, becoming one of the first destination marketing organizations to add quality journalism to its marketing mix.  For more than five years, expert bloggers known as the Insiders have been engaging with readers about popular Florida topics including beaches, family travel and deals.

In the past 18 months, VISIT FLORIDA has hired two longtime editors from nationally recognized Florida newspapers to lead a content bureau.  Now, a statewide network of 70-plus veteran journalists is writing, filming and photographing stories of Florida – more than 500 to date in English and Spanish.  This content pipeline feeds VISITFLORIDA.com and is available for distribution.  Some of the national media republishing VISIT FLORIDA journalism are the Tampa Bay Times, the Philadelphia newspapers and the Huffington Post.

VISIT FLORIDA’s reimagined brand and the soon-to-come redesigned website are all part of a strategic vision that celebrates the experiences of Florida’s nearly 90 million annual visitors.

To see the television ad, as well as other elements of the ‘Must Be the Sunshine’ campaign, please check out our landing page.  And please click here to read a release the Governor’s Press Office sent to media earlier today at the conclusion of the Governor’s Luncheon kicking off the Florida State Fair, where he unveiled the campaign’s first TV spot to a very enthusiastic crowd.


Will Seccombe
President & CEO

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