TALLAHASSEE — State tourism promoters will hit the airwaves starting Saturday with a simple message: Florida’s beaches are clean, sunny and ready for visitors.

By the time Gov. Charlie Crist announced Monday that the state would receive $25 million from BP for a promotional campaign, the state had already committed about 10 percent of that amount for online and television ads intended to drive viewers to the Visit Florida website,

There, the tourism agency has established a special section called “Florida Live” where potential visitors can click on pictures of the state’s coastal attractions and get real-time updates on everything involving the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Will Seccombe, chief marketing officer for Visit Florida, and Joe Cronin, managing director of DDB Miami, the advertising agency that handles the state’s tourism account, said the ads will start with the “drive market” — cities from Charlotte, N.C., to Dallas — where tourists are likely to use their cars to get to the Sunshine State.

But national advertising also will target the “fly-in markets” of New York, Toronto, Chicago and Philadelphia.

All of it will drive viewers to the website run by Visit Florida, the state’s consortium of travel and attraction businesses. The message also is being spread at the International Pow Wow convention in Orlando, which draws about 5,000 U.S. and international travel agents, tour companies, travel writers and others.

“We’re showing real people, real Florida, right now,” Seccombe said.

He and Cronin said the advertising online and on cable TV won’t mention the oil spill, which potential visitors know about anyway. Instead, the spots will emphasize that no oil has hit Florida and that all attractions are open for business.

“Tar balls” reportedly have reached the Florida Keys, but it has not been confirmed that they came from the Deepwater Horizon spill. The Gulf of Mexico has natural oil seepage, and other pollution sources sometimes affect all beaches.

Cronin said that if oil does hit Florida, the advertising strategy will be updated to provide accurate information and encourage tourists to keep coming to the state.



One response to “SKAM

  • The Destructionist

    While watching the latest news about the BP Oil spill, a frightening thought came to mind: what if we can’t stop the oil? I mean, what happens if after all the measures to cap the pipe fail, (i.e., “Top Hat”, “Small Hat” and “Top Kill”). What then? An accident this problematic is new territory for BP. The oil pipeline is nearly a mile down on the ocean floor, accessible only by robots. Add on top of that the extreme pressure at which the oil is flowing out of the pipeline and there you have it: the perfect storm.

    Moreover, scientists also claim that they’ve found an enormous plume of oil floating just under the surface of the ocean measuring approximately 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick. (I’m no math genius, but I bet one of you reading this could figure out just how many barrels of oil that is…)

    There are new estimates that the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico is anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 barrels of oil a day: that’s a far cry from BP’s estimated 5,000 barrels a day. If BP’s estimates are correct, the total amount of oil now in the Gulf would be approximately 150,000 barrels (or 6,300,000 gallons). That’s barely enough to fill 286 swimming pools: sixteen feet, by thirty-two feet, by eight and a half feet deep. That wouldn’t cover an area the size of New York City, let alone an area the size of Delaware. Obviously, the spill is much larger than we are being led to believe. If the leak can’t be stopped, in a year’s time, we’ll have roughly 18,250,000 barrels of oil (or 766,500,000 gallons) in our oceans, killing our marine and animal wildlife. Such a calamity would be environmentally and economically disastrous. I’m not a religious man, but I pray that BP and our government work fast to end this catastrophe.

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