From VisitNC.com press release:
North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development Wins Mercury Award for Print Advertising
RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 21, 2013) — The North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development has won a 2013 Mercury Award from the U.S. Travel Association’s National Council of State Tourism Directors for its print advertising campaign. The award was presented on Aug. 20 at the annual Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations conference.
The national award recognizes the North Carolina tourism office for its excellence in print advertising. Launched in 2012, the North Carolina print campaign showcases iconic elements of the state and its captivating beauty. The campaign’s three advertisements celebrate the legendary “Shadow of the Bear,” the state’s rich music traditions in a vibrant downtown Raleigh scene and the wild Banker horses of the coast.
“Our tourism ads feature striking visuals and poetic storytelling that highlight some of North Carolina’s most distinctive places,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Sharon Allred Decker. “This strategy is rooted in research showing travelers are seeking the next level of vacation — which our state’s three diverse regions offer.”
The campaign features two-page spreads and single pages that appear in strategically chosen magazines east of the Mississippi including Better Homes and Gardens, Coastal Living, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Garden & Gun, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Outside Magazine. The ads include the VisitNC.com URL to drive readers to the website for inquiries and more information.
“In a crowded field, North Carolina’s outstanding efforts to market the state through print advertising took this year’s high honor among state tourism peers,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. “The campaign does a beautiful job inspiring travel and positioning North Carolina as an ideal destination to explore. Congratulations to all who were involved in its development.”
The print campaign contributed to 14 percent growth in visitation for VisitNC.com, North Carolina’s strongest market share position since 2009, and a record $19.4 billion in visitor spending in 2012. All of the state’s 100 counties saw increased visitor spending, which supported 193,610 jobs across the state.
Created in 1985, the Mercury Awards recognize state and territory tourism offices for excellence and creative accomplishment in travel marketing and promotion. The winning programs serve as models to foster imagination and innovation in the development of future destination programs. The awards comprise 12 categories, and entries range from print and broadcast advertising to niche marketing.
This year, the awards were judged by JWT, an internationally recognized marketing and communications firm. Judges offered a unique perspective because the agency was chosen to help develop Brand USA’s national tourism promotion strategy.
In 2012, the state welcomed 45.4 million visitors and ranked sixth nationally in visitation.