Atlantic City ropes in WS to help with image makeover

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ: The Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority (ACCVA) has appointed Weber Shandwick as its agency of record as it bids to transform the image of the seaside casino resort city.

ACCVA vice-president of tourism and comms Sara Lindkrantz said: ‘We think we have a public relations problem, and the best way to attack that is to get some PR experts in here.

‘Our primary goal with this project is to change perceptions of Atlantic City,’ she added.

The WS hire marks the first time the ACCVA has drafted in a PR agency. The authority held a competitive pitch that narrowed a field of nine firms down to four finalists.

WS will attempt to boost economic development by drawing attention to Atlantic City’s potential as a ‘getaway’, as the north-eastern city prepares for the opening of developments including an ultra-luxurious complex called The Borgata.

WS plans to work alongside sister agency The MWW Group, which has a strong presence in New Jersey, and with Rogers & Cowan, its LA-based division that focuses on entertainment marketing.

WS also plans to work with Smith O’Keefe, a local agency based just 30 miles north of Atlantic City.

The PR campaign will involve replacing the city’s tagline – ‘America’s Favorite Playground’ – as part of a long-term strategy to boost tourism receipts.

WS travel marketing practice president Rene Mack said market research had revealed reputation problems. ‘Many people haven’t been there in a number of years. They haven’t seen the new product – the new attractions, the new properties. And they have a very antiquated view of what Atlantic City is,’ he added

Lindkrantz said the campaign will seek to involve local business leaders.

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