City visitors group launches $1.3M ad campaign

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The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association said Wednesday that it has launched a $1.3 million summer advertising campaign targeting eight Midwestern markets.

The campaign, which targets television, Internet, radio and billboard audiences, features a series of ads highlighting local attractions. It begins Monday and will continue through August.
Ads spotlight the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Zoo and the NCAA Hall of Champions.

The eight target markets: Chicago; Cincinnati; St. Louis; Columbus, Ohio; Louisville/Lexington, Ky.; Peoria/Decatur, Ill.; and Champaign/Bloomington, Ill.

Carmel-based Strategic Marketing & Research Inc. estimates that last year’s leisure travel campaign by ICVA induced 746,000 visitors to central Indiana and netted $289 in spending for every $1 spent in advertising. Last year’s campaign, however, ran only in Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Louisville.

“This year we will be in more markets with greater frequency for longer duration,” ICVA spokesman Warren Wilkinson said in a prepared statement. “It’s also important to note that we will increase our penetration in Chicago, where we had great success last year.”

ICVA’s summer travel campaign follows an announcement by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development on Friday that it will rely more on social media outlets to promote state destinations.

Lawmakers who passed a biennial budget during the special session last year sliced the state’s annual contribution to the tourism department in half—from $4.8 million to $2.4 million.

The department’s financial woes have worsened even more, however. Because state revenue continues to fall short of projections, only about $2 million will be spent this year on tourism. The rest has been placed in a reserve fund to protect against future budget cuts.

No radio and television advertisements to promote Indiana attractions aired last year, and they won’t this year, either. Instead, the tourism office is using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter as a “cost-effective” way to stretch its dollars.


  • "Exquisite"
    Your remarks are compact and complete, and raise some excellent points re the State's use of its money in this endeavor. Seems there's a fair bit of unnecessary overhead here. Evidently, the Legislature felt so too, hence the cut in budget. An "efficiency study" should probably be conducted, but that costs money. Guess we need to apply common sense as a substitute, eh?
  • wow
    I looked to see if Mary responded from yesterday and Wow! Suddenly reads like a bitter, one-sided Fox news or CNN show. Bias and inaccuracy bugs me so I'll defend state tourism a little. Their website is VisitIndiana - not their tagline. It is Restart Your Engines. Likely never spent millions on either. I do know I see ads from Indiana Tourism promoting summer trip ideas when I'm on MSN and other sites. One had a dunes picture. We have a new 2010 Travel Guide we ordered online and keep in our van for ideas. I have seen articles in newspapers and on the news about summer travel and discounts. That's PR. Hmm. seems like they are spending money to promote. I think they are probably more frugal and effective with where and how they're spending to market the state than I'm guessing some people might ever give them credit. Maybe everyone reading this chain of comments go to tourism's website and get ideas for things to do to go have some fun. Gotta beat sitting at computers reading twisted opinions. And again. Thanks ICVA and thanks Indiana Tourism (yes, two different groups) for promoting our great state.
  • Someone Needs To Be Fired
    How can the city of Indianapolis spend $1.3 million and get TV, Radio, billboards and internet out to Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Missouri while the state can only put something on twitter and facebook for $2.4 million?

    And the state didn't do any TV, Radio,or Billboards last year either?
  • Read the post!
    MAry, ICVA is spending $1.3 million on media ad buys throughout the midwest throughout the summer. It will promote local and area attractions.

    The STATE of INDIANA is the one putting its efforts into social media.

    ICVA and the STATE are separate entities.
  • OOPS
    Please forgive me, they spent millions to change the state tourism slogan from "Enjoy Indiana" to "Restart You Engines" first, then spent million more to change it to "Visit Indiana".

    I'm confident that made all the difference to someone who had any interest in coming to Indiana vs. any other state or country.
  • Funny if Not So Sad
    Based upon the states tourism website, they have 11 people plus contract employees that cant get any marketing out beyond the internet on a $2.4 million marketing budget.

    They must spend their days arguing over what shade of blue to use on e-mails promotions or trying to convince people that spending millions to change the state tourism slogan from "Enjoy Indiana" to "Visit Indiana" was a great investment that brought billions into our state.

    • And
      I still don't see why we don't take all this money we're wasting in a VERY fractionalized media market and spending it to create something people will want to come a see.
    • Actually
      Mary, you are mostly correct, so don't be so quick to apologize. The state tourism budget was cut from over $4 million to just over $2 million, of which they'll actually receive $2 million. They aren't spending ALL of it on Facebook and Twitter, but YES the only media they're using this year is social media. I don't get it either.
    • Indy Rocks....the State...Not So Much
      Actually Mary is half correct.

      The ICVA (Central Indiana Organization) is spending $1.3 million on television, Internet, radio and billboard to promote INDIANAPOLIS tourism.

      The state of Indiana's Office of Tourism Development has cut their budget and now has a budget of $2.4 million to promote STATE tourism.

      Now how do they spend $2.4 million? Apparently it all goes to social media marketing, expensive salaries for administration, building a savings account, while doing nothing to promote the state's multi-billion tourism industry on TV, Radio, Billboards, Print Marketing in around the country and world.

      Yes Mary, I would want that account....or a high salary job at the state department that is doing almost nothing.
      • Smackdown received
        My mistake. Thanks for the clarification.
      • reread the article Mary
        $1.3 is not an amount just for Facebook and Twitter. Looks like $1.3 million is the ICVA's budget across all media for summer. Which I'm glad to read they can invest money in marketing the city. If I remember the article correctly, social media is a tactic the state tourism office is using for a Visit Indiana week promo. Based on all the budget slashing, I bet the budget for that is pretty small. I checked out the deals they are promoting this week. They've sold out on some. So it's working.
      • Huh??
        Please help me understand how we'll be spending $1.3 MILLION on a Facebook & Twitter campaign. Seriously, I'd take that project on for HALF the cost!

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