COLUMBUS, Ohio – The state’s tourism bureau next week will kick off a new ad campaign designed to boost visitors to Ohio – from Ohio.
During at least the first year of the state’s new “Find It Here” campaign, Ohio residents will be the primary target of the message, said Mary Cusick, director of TourismOhio.
“We know that we need Ohioans to enthusiastically embrace this brand,” she said. “We need to start here. It’s where we get most of our tourists.”
In 2014, 80 percent of the 200 million visits to Ohio were from Ohioans, according to the state’s research.
Starting Monday, a new 30-second commercial promoting the state will begin airing on TV stations across the state – as well as in Detroit and Pittsburgh, two areas outside of Ohio that send a lot of visitors here.
The commercial will be the first to feature the new “Find It Here” brand, which was unveiled last November after months of research.
The brand is intended to capitalize on both the diversity of Ohio’s attractions – from roller coasters to Amish country to city sights – as well as the emotional connections that come from traveling with family and friends.
The commercial features footage of Cedar Point, Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, the Marblehead Lighthouse and other top tourism spots in Ohio. It also features people – couples, families, girlfriends — interacting at those places.
“We’re promoting meaningful experiences,” said Cusick. “It’s not just about riding the roller coaster – it’s about the way it makes you feel when you do.”
The state agency will spend between $6 million and $8 million on its marketing campaign in 2016, up from $4.1 million in 2015.
The increased amount is still much less than some competing states, including Michigan, which this year has budgeted $17 million for its Pure Michigan marketing campaign.
Ohio’s commercial will run on and off through the fall in seven markets throughout the state, including Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Youngstown and Dayton. The piece will run on cable and network TV, on a diverse range of programming, from “Modern Family” to the Cleveland Indians home opener.
Women ages 25-54 are the primary focus of its message, because they plan most of the vacations.
In addition to the TV campaign, the state also will pitch Ohio through a series of print ads in regional and national magazines, on radio and through social media.
* The state recently released its 160-page 2016 Travel Guide, which includes articles on Ohio biking, hiking and paddling trails; the state’s food scene (with Michael Symon’s recipe for mac and cheese with roasted chicken, goat cheese and rosemary); Amish country and more. To get a free copy: Ohio.org or 1-800-BUCKEYE. There’s also a digital copy available.
* TourismOhio recently revamped its website, which is now Ohio.org. It features information on hundreds of Ohio attractions, accommodations, events and more, arranged thematically and geographically.
Check back Monday to see TourismOhio’s new television commercial for 2016.