TALLAHASSEE, FL: The state of Florida, which has been hammered by fires and hurricanes, is launching a disaster-preparedness ad and PR push that urges the public to be prepared.
The effort, which includes a cross-promotion relationship with MasterCard International, includes a “tax-free shopping holiday” running until Tuesday this week, designed to get Floridians to stores to buy batteries, flashlights, plastic sheeting, and other essential materials.
Besides an ad push in eight coastal Florida newspapers – including the Miami Herald and Tampa Tribune – themed to MasterCard’s 10-year-old “Priceless” marketing campaign, Weber Shandwick is assisting with media communications about the partnership. A MasterCard representative declined to estimate the value of the campaign.
Adam Sohn, director of communications for Florida’s department of community affairs, said that the tax breaks not only encouraged people to be ready ahead of storms with 72 hours worth of supplies, they also gave state retailers added incentive to promote disaster preparedness.
“Government in general doesn’t have hundreds of millions of dollars to go out and promote messages for the public good,” he said. “We’re able to ride on the coattails of a world-class brand to get the message out.”
In one of the “Priceless”-themed ads, the copy reads: “Battery powered flashlight, storm shutter, and weather band radio: $349 tax free. (A little help before the storm: priceless.)”
Following the end of the tax-free holiday, Florida plans to begin running a series of public service announcements, created with the help of the Florida Association of Broadcasters in Tallahassee, that will also encourage residents to better prepare for disaster.