Baltimore tries a new line to help attract visitors to town

The Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association has hired branding firm Landor Associates and PR agency M. Silver Associates for its new brand platform and tagline, "Get in on it."

Organization:  Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Assoc.
Campaign:  "Get in on it"
PR team:  M. Silver Associates and the in-house team
Other marketing: 30- and 60-second ads on television and radio by Landor Associates
Launched:  May 24 in Baltimore, June 14, nationally
Budget:  Bureau budget is $8 million, with PR being a small fraction of that

Baltimore is launching a new tagline to position the city as a tourist destination. The Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association (BACVA) has hired branding firm Landor Associates and PR agency M. Silver Associates for its new brand platform and tagline, "Get in on it."

It hopes to revitalize tourism with a word-of-mouth effort to spotlight its many attractions.

Idea: According to Landor's Susan Palumbo, the tagline is meant to reflect Baltimore's individuality, focusing on a care-free, easy-going attitude. The new slogan is modeled after Las Vegas' "What happens here, stays here" campaign. "We found that what is appealing to consumers about Baltimore are the same things that appeal to meeting planners - the water and the easy access of the city," said Nancy Hines, VP of public affairs for BACVA.

Tools: The new branding effort uses a logo containing a palette of 14 icons representing the city's major attractions - a sailboat, a crab, and a dinosaur - representing marine sports, seafood, and the city's science center. The new look is also online at Baltimore.org, and www.areyouinonit.com. A teaser campaign was conducted with Teletubbie-like characters passing out stress balls around town. The characters are also appearing at festivals giving out fans with the icon and logo in a guerilla marketing push.

Measurement: The effort is being measured by media hits and Web site traffic. A pre-campaign survey, done by Longwood Research, gauges people's feelings about the city and will be revisited in a year to see if prospective visitor opinion has changed.

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