How Virginia's Famous Tourism Campaign Is Pivoting Mid-Pandemic

'We'll be waiting for you,' says The Martin Agency

Virginia's great outdoors and historic landmarks miss you, but they understand pausing recreational travel for a while. When the coronavirus crisis subsides and vacation planning resumes, they'll still be there, eager to share their scenic beauty and colonial charm.

Virginia Beach, Big Meadows, Mount Vernon and other locations appear in this simple, affecting :30 from the state's tourism office and The Martin Agency:

We'll Be Waiting

The line "We'll be waiting for you" comes at the end, following a stream of local landscapes and landmarks. Juliet Hudson's piano-driven ballad "We're Still Here" sets the right tone, its retro-'80s style suggesting ties that bind.

The tagline "Virginia Is for Lovers," perhaps the most famous tourism slogan ever written, in use since 1969, closes out the spot.

Martin devised the campaign as a "reverse postcard" of sorts, with sites and attractions reminding people that better days and exciting excursions lay ahead. Additional elements amplify that theme:

The work feels akin to Ikea's spots that showed houses and apartments professing love for their occupants and urging them to stay inside during Covid-19.

"Our traditional spring campaign activity was all about promoting the beautiful beaches of Virginia," but the Covid-19 outbreak necessitated a sudden change of plan, says Martin creative director Adam Stockton, who developed the Virginia Tourism Corp. concept during his first day on the account.

"We wanted to take an optimistic approach," he says, "with a reassuring message not to rush to come visit today. Instead, when we come out on the other side of this, we'd love to see you."

Tourism generates more than $25 billion annually and 234,000 jobs in Virginia, so keeping travel on people's radars, even while they're stuck at home, is essential. Ads break this week across Virginia Tourism digital channels, and on TV through a partnership with the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. Some components include tie-ins with stores, venues, parks and other businesses.

"There's something powerful to the idea that while everything stopped for us, nothing's stopped out there," says Martin planning director Taylor Wiegert, meaning the state's natural and historical wonders will always be there. "That's something to anticipate. Something to look forward to. It's a reminder to those who've experienced these places that they're still thriving—and it's an invitation to those who haven't, showing there's much to explore when this is all over."

CREDITS

Client: Virginia Tourism
President and CEO: Rita McClenny
VP of Marketing: Diane BeChamps
Brand Director: Lindsey Norment
Assistant Brand Director: Leah Harms
Art Director and Photographer: Ryan Trapp
Photographer and Creative Specialist: Sarah Hauser
Art Director and Photographer: Ali Zaman
Agency: The Martin Agency
Chief Creative Officer: Karen Costello
Creative Director: Adam Stockton
SVP, Global Account Director: Britta Dougherty
VP, Account Director: Lindsey Netto
Account Executive: Tayler Anderson
Vice President, Planning Director: Taylor Wiegert
Business Affairs Manager: Emily Goodman 
Project Manager: Courtney Hurd
Editor: Ryan Trapp
Music: "We're Still Here"
Universal Productions Music

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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