Edelman to aid Atlantic City tourism push

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ: The Atlantic City Alliance will launch a $20 million integrated marketing campaign on Monday with new PR AOR Edelman as one of its agency partners.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ: The Atlantic City Alliance will launch a $20 million integrated marketing campaign on Monday with new PR AOR Edelman as one of its agency partners.  

The effort's components will include media relations, social media, promotional events, and ad buys across traditional and new media platforms including print, broadcast, digital, and out-of-home.

The organization will also launch a microsite on Monday featuring enhanced trip-planning tools to help visitors choose from its lodging, dining, shopping, and entertainment options. The itinerary planning tools will help visitors customize selections with personal preferences such as budgets and travel partners, according to the organization.

Historically, specific attractions within the city have promoted travel there, but the organization decided to launch its largest campaign even because tourist visits had dropped, said Liza Cartmell, president of the ACA.

The efforts will mostly target consumers in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. However, they will not emphasize gaming and instead focus on entertainment, fine dining, luxury accommodations, vibrant nightlife, and Atlantic City's beach and boardwalk. The campaign will encourage spontaneity because the city is within driving distance for those consumers.

The alliance chose Edelman in March as its PR AOR for the project after an RFP. Cartmell hired the firm because of its communications experience and expertise in tourism. She declined to disclose its budget.

Euro RSCG New York is handling advertising, and MPG is managing media planning and buying.

The organization hired a chief strategy and communications officer and a CMO last month.

Atlantic City saw an all-time high number of tourists in 2006 with more than 35 million visitors, before dropping to fewer than 30 million by this year, Cartmell said. This decrease can be attributed to gaming operations debuting in other states during that time as well as the economic downturn that began in 2008, she added. There was also a perception that the city was not safe or clean.

“The challenging part of this campaign will be getting people to think about the city differently,” Cartmell said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, has made increasing tourism to Atlantic City a priority.

“Transforming Atlantic City's gaming and tourism economy and developing it into a world-class destination and resort is a vital and ongoing commitment of this administration.” Christie said, in a statement. “There is finally a concerted effort to properly fund Atlantic City marketing initiatives to attract visitors to the region, a need that has gone unmet for far too long.”

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