Published April 24. 2014 9:00AM Updated April 25. 2014 12:09AM
Hartford — As state officials unveiled the $3.4 million second phase of Connecticut’s “Still Revolutionary” tourism campaign Thursday, familiar destinations such as Mystic Aquarium, Mystic Seaport, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun were front and center.
Speaking at the opening of the Connecticut Conference on Tourism at the Connecticut Convention Center, Catherine Smith, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said this year’s “Revolutionary Thoughts” campaign takes a “yin and yang” approach to attracting visitors. Last year’s campaign, officials added, generated an estimated $219 million in tourism spending — more than paying for itself through additional tax revenues.
Randy Fiveash, director of the Connecticut Office of Tourism, said the state’s new approach to marketing Connecticut pairs seeming opposites such as “historic” and “prehistoric” as well as “cool” and “hot.” Broadcast advertising will be a large component, though the spots will last 15 seconds this year rather than the 30-second ads of the previous campaign.
“It’s quite exciting,” said Tony Sheridan, president and chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, who joined about 400 others in attending the all-day conference. “It’s thoughtful. I like that they’re focusing on our history.”
This year’s campaign, Fiveash said, is intended to get across the message that no other New England state delivers such a rich blend of options. “Soothing and stimulating,” “outdoors and indoors” and “old and new” are just some of the pairings seen in a video preview of the campaign.
“This is fantastic — we’re selling our state,” said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who spoke at the conference’s opening.
Among the images seen during the preview of the ad campaign were photos of Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art in Montville, Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport and tubing on the Farmington River.
Wyman noted that Connecticut spent only $1 on tourism before Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was elected. The state had a $9.5 million budget for tourism this fiscal year, a number that is expected to be boosted to $12 million in each of the next two years.
“You need money to attract people here,” Wyman said.
The advertising campaign will be geared toward New York City, Providence, western Massachusetts and the Hartford-New Haven area. It includes a digital marketing component through social media.
Adams & Knight of Avon created the campaign in a partnership with Kansas City-based MMGY Global. Media Storm of Norwalk is handling the media buys, while St. Louis-based FleishmanHillard will take charge of social media and in-state public relations.
In addition to the advertising campaign, Connecticut officials announced a “perfect pairs” contest in which people can submit ideas for two state activities that could make a great getaway. The contest, called #CTGetaway Sweepstakes, runs through May 2 and is featured on the state’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest social media channels.