The ads — a departure from past campaigns that highlighted the city as a beach destination for tourists — have been crafted to “educate” consumers on the Virginia Beach destinations available beyond the beaches, according to the convention and visitors bureau’s website.
The campaign — featuring dual ads opposed in their messaging — is an innovative one, wrote Brad Van Dommelen, director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a news release.
“This breakthrough campaign will educate potential visitors on the wide variety of year-round activities across our entire destination,” Van Dommelen wrote in the news release. The Go Beachless / Go Beach campaign is designed to transcend category conventions, distinguish ourselves from competition and increase familiarity with the destination.”
The convention and visitors bureau is the official destination marketing organization for the city, according to their website.
According to a website for the Go Beachless! campaign, tourists should “explore 500 square miles and feel the thrill of going Beachless!”
A woman in the Go Beachless! video encourages visitors “show us what you’re made of” by visiting parts of the city other than the beach.
The Go Beachless! site touts the city’s historic sites, parks, hiking spots, rivers access, art galleries, museums, breweries, wineries, and restaurants as “beachless” activities available to visitors.
The Go Beachless! ads are countered by opposing Go Beach! ads, which encourage people to take part in the traditional attractions offered by the oceanside resort, according to the Visit Virginia Beach website.
The Go Beach! page of the convention and visitors bureau’s site features another fictional character, Waverly Sanderson, acting as “president of the coalition for Virginia Beach beaches.” The actress said her fictional organization is “opposed to such inappropriate behavior” as going “inland,” and urges people to stick with the beach during their visit.
The Zimmerman Agency, a Florida ad company, created the Go Beachless marketing campaign for the city, according to an online casting call for actors in the video ads.
Residents can also participate in the campaign by choosing a side — Go Beach! or Go Beachless! The city is conducting a sweepstakes giveaway and residents may vote for which side they’re on.
A winner will receive a three-night hotel package for four guests at the Hyatt Place Virginia Beach Hotel in Town Center, which includes breakfast and a $1,000 Visa gift card, according to the city’s tourism site.
Online voting for the sweepstakes contest ends June 30.