"Duluth is Open For You" Ad Campaign Launches Thursday

By KBJR News 1

July 2, 2012 Updated Jul 3, 2012 at 6:43 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---Duluth plans to launch a $125,000 ad campaign this week to change the lingering perception that flood damage is more widespread than it really is.

The city council will vote Monday whether to allocate up to $75,000 to the city's tourism arm, Visit Duluth.

The hospitality industry lost about $3 million during the first week of the widely publicized and historic floods in the Northland.

Many tourists continue to cancel plans and look for alternative vacation spots.

"When I was talking at work about that we were going up, people were shocked that we were still going they thought, why are you going? It's a lot of damage," Julie Wilfong of St. Cloud said.

It's those kinds of questions park officials keep hearing over and over.

"Are you open?" Audrey Butts, Gooseberry Falls Park Manager said. "Do you have camping? Should we still come? We have a reservation what should we do? How do we get there? Which roads are open? Can we get there from the Twin Cities through Duluth?"

The new integrative social media campaign aims to change that perception.
Its core message; Duluth is open for visitors and is a safe place to visit.

"There is still lingering perceptions that Canal Park is underwater, or maybe the town slipped into Lake Superior," Terry Mattson, President of Visit Duluth said. "There was no doubt damage to pockets of residential areas, very substantial damage, but the fact of the matter is, the core visitor experience is completely unchanged."

"We didn't really see anything on our way up other than maybe a little road construction," Stay Bale of Missouri said.

"I didn't see an debris or anything and there is a lot of people out," Bev Smith of Oklahoma said.

The message "Duluth is Open for You" will be broadcast on TV commercials, and on social media networks including, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

The ads will be centered on visual images of Duluth and will run for two weeks.

"Usually if people come that far, they come up the shore," Butts said. "I think it will be good for us too, and all the way up the shore."

The campaign will also further extend an already existing campaign in the Twin Cities area with the slogan, Duluth is Good For You.

The campaign launches Thursday.

Jennifer Walch
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