Ad Federation Launches Campaign To Attract Friends To Oil-Free Florida

Sunshine, sandy beaches and beautiful palm trees along the Gulf coast waters are some of the perks that come with Florida living and visiting. It's a place where a diverse mix of people work and play while enjoying family friendly activities like art museums, festivals and theme parks.

Tampa Bay region cities boast award-winning cafes and restaurants, terrific sports teams, historic landmarks, sailing, golfing, fishing and fun!

You know what we don't have? Oil from the BP fiasco.

The 4th District of the American Advertising Federation (covering the state of Florida and the Caribbean) is about to remind everyone what Florida living has to offer. This year's public service chair, Mike Weber, is leading the Friend Florida campaign for the nonprofit organization.

Weber is the president and owner of CMR Studios, an integrated media production company, based in St. Petersburg. After attending the AAF national conference in Orlando, Weber realized how many people are misinformed about the oil spill and its lack of impact on Florida's beaches outside the Panhandle.

"We found that people literally thought that I had oil behind my house and that they told their friends not to come and vacation here because of the oil," says Weber.

Weber decided it was important to get the word out to attempt to lessen the economic impact as far as tourism is concerned. So the 24 chapters based in Florida (there are a total of 25, one chapter is based in the Caribbean) are now committed to the FriendFlorida.org campaign.

The project is a pro bono effort. "There's nothing coming from BP or one of the tourism councils or anything like that," says Weber. "We're activating the Ad Fed network in order to utilize what we do best, which is advertising and publicity."

The last major pro bono pushes from Florida Ad Fed came in 2008 with the No On Amendment 5 and in 1987 with the Ax the Tax campaign. Weber says he remembers how beneficial those campaigns were (the tax got axed and the amendment was removed from the ballot) so he figures they can help correct misperceptions about the oil spill situation.

In addition to creating local buzz, each chapter in Florida plans to produce TV spots in cooperation with local stations. Each of the 24 markets will gather video to show that most Florida waters are oil free and worthy of visits from friends across the country.

For more information, visit: FriendFlorida.org or visit the Friend Florida Facebook page.

Writer: Nancy Vaughn
Source: Mike Weber, American Advertising Federation
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