Florida's main tourism agency is launching a new ad campaign targeting northerners, looking for relief from winter weather. The campaign kicks off this weekend, just as a massive storm system sweeps over many of the ad's targeted areas.
The Visit Florida ad's main mantra: beat the cold and come simmer in the sun. The $8.4 million ad campaign is poised to play to quite the captive audience. It's debuting in cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston this weekend, just as a blizzard slams into the Northeast.
St. Petersburg-Clearwater's Tourism Bureau says the ads are played in those specific cities most miserable months on purpose, in hopes of wooing Northerners, desperate for warmer weather.
"This is always a chance you take. For example, last year, we had a big push in Chicago, and Chicago had one of the warmest winters on record last year. This year, they're having one of their expected cold winters," said St.Pete-Clearwater Tourism Bureau Director David Downing.
Harry Voorhis says he didn't need a commercial to encourage him to escape chilly Indiana.
"We wanted to get out there," he laughed.
He and his wife visit St. Pete Beach each February. They arrived just in time to skip out on the snow.
"We're not worried about getting back. If the airlines are closed, one of our kids will drive down and get us," Voorhis said.
Lynda Birch narrowly escaped the storm's surge on her home in Connecticut.
"They're saying about 12 inches. So we'll see what happens," she said Friday.
In the meantime, she's perfectly content with trading a blizzard for the beach.
"Very glad I'm here and not there, that's for sure. I'm not looking forward to going home," Birch said.
More than 40 flights to the Northeast were canceled on Friday at Tampa International Airport.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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