W. Virginia Psychs Out Would-Be Tourists with 'Why Bother?' Approach


AdFreak educates us
on an eyebrow-raising repositioning campaign for West Virginia. Their last tourism stint, the "desperate housewives" upper middle class ennui card, apparently yielded mediocre results because they've thrown their heirloom-encrusted hands in the air with the new "Whatever you do, don't come to West Virginia!" campaign. (And we're not quipping. That's actually the tagline.)

"There's value in the copy," says travel/marketing director Liz Chewning of WV's tourism division. "You choose the words carefully and try to surprise your reader, hooking them by saying the unexpected."

The running advertorials are a mix between news and opinion columns, sarcastically asking readers why anyone would come to West Virginia when there are beaches in the Carolinas and mega-theme parks in Florida. They then highlight the merits of the state in expectedly cheeky language.

Creatives and politicians alike are skittish about running away with a negative tone, but reverse psychology remains a popular tactic whose results always seem speculatively promising. We rarely find out whether they are, which might mean they, well, aren't. But hey, we've done all kinds of things we were told not to do so the notion lives on.

by Angela Natividad    Mar-16-07   Click to Comment   
Topic: Campaigns, Online   

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"If we sell a car in the next 30 minutes, we'll club this baby seal!"

Hmm.. could work.

Posted by: Step Schwarz on March 16, 2007 2:54 PM

Here's hoping it works. My home state could use a little edgy promotion.

Posted by: Jonathan on March 16, 2007 4:12 PM

I've lived in the WV mountains, hills, and hollows for nearly half a century, and I say to tourists, "Enter at your own risk". Yee-haw!!!

Posted by: MountainLaurel on March 18, 2007 11:12 PM

I'm all for "unexpected approaches," especially in staid categories like tourism, but there's so much ironic humor here it borders on confusing, and not enough unique reasons to pack up my hypothetical children and vacation in WV.

Posted by: True on March 19, 2007 2:01 PM

Yo, so, I helped write the copy in question, which appears below. It's damn good, too. Anyone hiring? By the way, this is NOT a new campaign or even new slogan. It's a one-time advertorial insertion that's gotten SO MUCH MORE press than it deserves. Which I love, of course! Here's the full copy ...

Whatever you do, don’t come to West Virginia!

Why in the world would you want to when there are beaches in the Carolinas and mega-amusement parks in Florida? And nothing says “family fun” like a 10-hour drive with screaming kids, miles after mile of desolate highway, and little to break the monotony besides the occasional rest area or fast food joint.

Oh, but it’s better once you get there.

After the precious vacation day you’ll waste from the drive, you’ll still have a few left to spend brushing sand out of every nook and cranny of you, your hotel room and the car. At least you’ll get to enjoy overpriced dinners at local tourist traps while basking in the glow of a blistering sunburn.

What could be better? Only a day spent standing in line after line for a brief few minutes of fun hopping on and off rides made to replicate the thrills of nature’s own mountains, valleys and rivers. Good thing you brought plenty of cash. You’ll eat up most of it courtesy of $8 hot dogs and $5 souvenir cups full of some mysterious “fruit-flavored” drink. Which little Billy will promptly spill all over himself.

Aaah, then there’s that long trip home where everyone is getting on everyone else’s last nerve. It’ll take a few days back in the grind just to rest up from the whole ordeal. Chalk it up to another forgettable family vacation.

Come to think of it, a visit to West Virginia may be just what the doctor ordered. A relaxing hike through a cool morning in West Virginia’s breathtaking mountains – where you actually talk (gasp!) to your children and husband – provides the escape you need from the break-neck pace of your workaday world. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to return from a vacation more relaxed than when you left?

Things move at a slower pace here, and that’s just the way we like it. Quaint small towns offer an array of unique restaurants and eclectic shops along tree-lined streets. Or you can take the family on a wild or mild guided ride down America’s Best Whitewater, bike wooded trails, stroll the grounds of a plush resort, play a round at mountain courses designed by golf’s greatest legends – or do nothing more strenuous than soaking up the most breathtaking landscape in the East.

Yeah, an escape to West Virginia is starting to sound pretty good about now. Come enjoy the family time you’ve been missing in the mountains of West Virginia, Wild and Wonderful.
West Virginia is calling … will you answer?

To start planning your next getaway, call 1-800-CALL WVA or visit www.wvescapes.com for your FREE TRAVEL GUIDE.

Posted by: WVadguy on March 20, 2007 9:23 AM