Mississippi Gulf Coast Tourism Expands

The Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership, a non-profit entity, was established in 2011 to administer $16 million in tourism marketing and grant funding from BP America.

After a national search, the partnership selected GodwinGroup for its branding, marketing and communications. To broaden its presence across all three Coastal counties, GodwinGroup created The Tri.Ad, an affiliation with Ad.In Advertising in Ocean Springs and Ad.Lib Communications in Bay St. Louis. All three agencies in The Tri.Ad participated in the presentation.

“Promotion of the entire Coast—Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties—with one voice is a major milestone in tourism for the Mississippi Coast,” said Patrick Leary, senior vice president of Godwin Gulf Coast in Gulfport.

Digital and Social Marketing

GodwinGroup launched a digital marketing campaign for The Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership by creating and purchasing display ads to appear on sites that fall under categories such as vacations, travel, golf and gaming as well as men’s and women’s interests sites.

Since the campaign launched in February, daily traffic to visitmscoast.org has increased by ten times. Most important is the amount of traffic the site is sending to local businesses—before the campaign started, only 25 visits to local businesses were recorded each month. In June, visitmscoast.org sent more than 12,000 site visits to local businesses such as casinos, golf courses and individual county sites.

GodwinGroup has also doubled the fan base of Visit MS Coast on Facebook by implementing effective and engaging updates. The number of likes has more than doubled in three months, and within 30 days the fan base increased by 35%.

Another initiative of the Gulf Coast Regional Tourism Partnership encouraged local businesses, organizations and individuals to clean up the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Clean Our Scene was a three-month public awareness campaign that kicked off March 2 and lasted through May 31 to address one of the key issues that has a direct impact on tourism—litter and unsightly debris.

While Clean Our Scene was designed as a three-month project, the long-standing goal is making the beauty of the Mississippi Gulf Coast a priority all year long. Phase Two of the program, Time to Shine, continues the message of community beautification. To view photos of how the community has become involved, visit Clean our Scene on Facebook.

Traditional Advertising and “Special Guests”

Trip Report is a concept that uses traditional advertising to allow the viewer to have a look inside the individual experiences of people vacationing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Three 30-second television spots were shot over six days in a variety of locations in all three Mississippi Gulf Coast counties. The spots are currently running in the regional markets of: Houston, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Jackson, Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile. Twelve different print ads were developed and are running in 23 key regional and major national publications, and 30 online ads promote the Mississippi Gulf Coast through the Tourism Partnership’s robust online and digital advertising plan. To view the television spots, visit GodwinGroupTV.

Just released in July, Roy and Shelly Vacation Crustaceans—two colorful shrimp head finger puppets—were introduced as official “spokesshrimp” of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. GodwinGroup concepted and created the puppets as a non-traditional approach to stand out among large amounts of tourism ads and promotions in the region. The fun, campy pair (who are actually professional puppeteers behind the vibrant costumes) will promote Mississippi Gulf Coast events and amenities and are available for appearances and promotions. The first appearance of The Vacation Crustaceans is in two TV ads that currently run in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Jackson, Mobile and Montgomery. To view the first two ad videos featuring The Vacation Crustaceans, visit Visit MississippiCoast TV.

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