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New Message

June 4th, 2010 by flanews

With tar balls washing up Pensacola Beach and an even larger pool of oil just miles away, the state tourism agency is changing its marketing strategy. Last month Visit Florida launched its “Coast is Clear” campaign but as Whitney Ray tells us, the ads were pulled and new commercials are being aired.

The coast is no longer clear, and the message to travelers has changed. Tar balls began washing ashore on Pensacola Beach Friday morning. Visit Florida was already prepared with a new commercial in waiting.

“We did take down the campaign that said our coast was clear and we pulled that on Thursday, and then did a new voice over of a new spot,” said Will Seccombe with Visit Florida.

The new commercial will begin running throughout the Southeast this weekend. It focuses on the majority of Florida’s beaches which are still clean, and directs people to Visit Florida’s website for live pictures and updates of vacation destinations.

Visit Florida wants to keep the focus on the beaches that remain untouched. An even newer commercial is in the works. It should be ready by the middle of next week.

Governor Charlie Crist says it’s challenging to keep the marketing campaign ahead of the moving oil slick, but it’s necessary to give travelers the most updated information.

“You’ve got to communicate effectively, honestly, and accurately, and the message that we put out is that most of the beaches in Florida are beautiful, pristine and clean. And as that changes we have to change the message to match what the facts are,” said Crist.

Florida received 25 million dollars from BP for advertising. 4.5 million was given to counties. Visit Florida will spend seven million dollars by June 15, leaving 13 million to last through September.

History suggests an uphill battle for Visit Florida. After Hurricane Andrew hit Dade County in the summer of 1992, tourism statewide fell because travelers were scared away by stories and video of the damage and didn’t realize only a small part of the state was hit.

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