Philadelphia strives for new ad campaign

By Gianna Shikitino
September 3, 2009

Shannon Keough

Catchy and cute ads displayed all over Philadelphia, identified as the “With Love Philadelphia” campaign, are an eye-catching hit to travelers seeking out new ventures in the “City of Brotherly Love.”

But are these seemingly innocent ads inviting out-of-towners to stay overnight or is there a pretty penny to go along with it?

The official visitor site for greater Philadelphia, gophila.com, has been up for over 10 years. The Go Phila corporation launched a new ad campaign, “With Love Philadelphia,” which kicked off in May 2009.

“Our office is a separate group [from Go Phila],” Cara Schneider, Media Relations Director for the “With Love Philadelphia” campaign, said. “Our job is to promote travel in the city through a pretty aggressive campaign.”

Last year, Go Phila attempted the “Philly’s more fun when you sleep over” commercial advertisements, which did not attract as many people as expected.

“The city is in a pretty significant budget crisis,” Schneider said. “We spend money to make money. For every media dollar spent on an ad, we receive $185 that is generated on an economic impact.”

“I think they should do more advertising,” Pedro Perez, senior business administration major, said. “They should have more publicity in airports. I think it is a great way to put Philly out there for travelers.”

“The marketing campaign has been a huge success,” Schneider said. “Different events and groups want to piggy back on it.”

It seems as though this ad campaign will improve Philadelphia’s budget crisis by attaining a steady flow of visitors, but what do residents of Philadelphia think of this new approach?

Kurt Gibson, a resident of Philadelphia, believes that although the campaign seems friendly, the main objective for the “With Love Philadelphia” campaign is to make money -and that’s it.

“They’re being your friend so you’ll spend money here,” Gibson said. “What they are doing is a desperate attempt to make money for the city,” Gibson said.

“Each year they are coming up with different ways to campaign to come to Philadelphia and each year they have to set the bar higher and make more money in advertising than they did the previous year,” Gibson said.

“They keep doing it over and over again but with different themes for the campaign. People are coming to Philly, but are not spending enough money, so they want travelers to come out and stay overnight in the city,” Gibson said.

“The ‘With Love Philadelphia’ campaign goal is working both in terms of awareness and hotel occupancy,” Schneider said. The ad implies having travelers come and stay overnight in Philadelphia. The more people coming to stay at hotels, the more profit the city will make.

“You don’t see ads for places in the city such as Geno’s or Pat’s steaks because people know of those places and want to go to them because they’re both famous and historic,” Gibson said, about the ‘With Love’ campaign’s newest ad featured on the Go Phila Web site titled “Dear What’s a BYOB?”

“The campaign is trying to get people to go to big restaurants to spend more money,” Gibson said.

Alfred Krawitz, owner of the Blarney bar and restaurant in Philadelphia, thinks that advertising in Philadelphia is a waste of time.

“Why do they advertise in Philadelphia? They should be advertising outside of Philadelphia to bring travelers in,” Krawitz said.

Krawitz believes that businesses shouldn’t promote or join the campaign because he is not aware of how the “With Love Philadelphia” funds are provided for other businesses.

“Unless the state gave them [businesses] money, where do the funds come from? Are they coming out of Philadelphia tax dollars?” Krawitz said.

The taxes for Philadelphia increased from seven percent on the dollar to eight percent over last year and both Krawitz and Gibson agree that the “With Love” campaign is just another marketing tactic for Philly to get money for the city and to benefit the mayor.

Supporting or not supporting the “With Love Philadelphia” campaign may differ between residents of Philadelphia and outsiders, but who knows what ad campaign will launch next? The advertising campaign is content as long as the revenue goal is reached and the city’s sights and hot-spots are earning a pretty penny.

Gianna Shikitino

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