I got really fired up when I read this article in this weekend's Star Ledger that the State (of NJ is) launching new and different tourism campaign . According to the article NJ is wasting $650K in television ads in Boston, Richmond, NY, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Baltimore to promote vacationing in NJ. The creative sounds interesting though, but what is a complete and utter waste of tax dollars and shows how out of touch NJ's advertisers are, is that the $650K won't make a dent on TV in those MSAs. They should have spent the entire $650K on the internet. So, without further ado, top 5 things that NJ should have done with that $650K instead of wasting on a low GRP TV campaign.
HOW THE STATE OF NJ SHOULD SPEND $650k TO PROMOTE TOURISM
- Build a Microsite to Promote All of The Great Things About NJ - I saw no mention of an internet component, so one has to assume there is none which is ashame. According to the article the campaign will feature, among other attractions, bed and breakfasts in Cape May, family kayaking in the Pinelands, golfing in Vernon, hot air ballooning in Readington, Rutgers University football in Piscataway and a ballet performance at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton. This should be all housed with video features, pictures, etc on a microsite.
- Social Networking Component - One of the best things they should do is have a social networking plan across the major players like YouTube, Facebook, MySpace (yes I wrote that), and Flickr. They should set up channels and pages across all of them and allow people to post pictures, videos, and then have a tagging scheme so people can find them.
- Word of Mouth Campaigns - NJ should reach out to influential NJ bloggers (not the ones hanging off of NJO.com) and have them write posts about what is great about NJ. Sure they can pay for post (go ahead and flame me) or just pay to have banners placed on their websites promoting the campaign. Those banners could be in the form of widgets to promote good things happening in NJ, banners to the microsite, or conversational ones where people can add what they think is great about NJ.
- Consumer Generated Ads - Sure this one is a bit over done, but so what. On the microsite as well as YouTube, we should let people create their own ads on what they like about NJ. It doesn't have to be for creating commercials but it should let people vote on the best videos on NJ.
- Buy Some Online Media - Most of what was listed above except for #1 costs very little, so let's take that savings and buy some online advertising to stream those commercials. First stop of course is search via Google and perhaps Yahoo and MSN to try and capture people looking for NJ vacations. Next, lets take the geo-targeting strategy and buy across vacation sites and of course Yahoo, AOL, and MSN. Finally, let's buy some cheap, geo-targeted video and banner ads across ad networks like Tremor Media, Advertising.com, and Google's Content network.
Well that's it. The list above is a way better use of $650K than the same old tired TV ads.