Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau
CREATING REGIONAL AND NATIONAL BUZZ BY RE-BRANDING VENTURA’S REPUTATION
Ventura, California, just an hour north of Los Angeles, has always had the makings of a quintessential California beach town: quaint restaurants, surf shops, and the laid back feel that tourists and natives are drawn to. Unfortunately, anyone living outside of Ventura had no idea what a great place it was. “Valencia?” “No,Ventura.” “The highway?” Would be a typical conversation between potential travelers, both regionally and nationally.
But seven and a half years ago, Ann Flower Communications aimed to change Ventura’s anonymity, and get Ventura’s public reputation to live up to what Ventura always has been, that quintessential beach town.
The goal of AFC was simple, create widespread awareness and buzz around Ventura in both regional and national media so that Ventura would come to be known as a sought-after destination. Whether vacationing for a week from the other side of the country, or just a weekend escape from the concrete jungle of Los Angeles, travelers needed to be aware of everything that Ventura offers.
- Create buzz within two tiers of media: the “drive” market – media within two-four hours of Ventura, where travelers could drive to Ventura for an escape, and the “fly” market – media outside the drive market, where travelers would see Ventura as a destination unto itself, or as a must see addition to a trip to Los Angeles.
- Host various media, travel writers, adventure reporters, outdoors journalists, etc, on press trips to Ventura that show off Ventura’s attractions, from restaurants to kayaking to shopping.
- Distribute press releases to appropriate media announcing, or highlighting, Ventura-based special events such as concerts, running and walking races, festivals, agri-tours, and a multitude of other such attractions.
- Pitch events and attractions noted above to the ‘calendar’ sections of magazines, newspapers, and websites in order to establish Ventura’s reputation as a city with something always exciting and interesting occurring.
- Represent Ventura by attending travel trade shows and events in order to establish relationships with appropriate media.
Ann Flower Communications has acquired widespread coverage in many local, regional, and national publications resulting in new found respect and admiration for this beach town. Now, instead of hearing, “where’s that?” when mentioning Ventura, we’re more likely to hear, “I hear it’s really great there.” Here are some highlights:
- 805 Living, May 2005
“Treasure hunting in Ventura by the sea”
- San Francisco Chronicle, July 3 2005
“Wining and dining in downtownVentura”
- Westways, September/October 2005
- Coastal Living, October 2005
“Inn love: 21 lodging favorites”
- National Geographic Adventure, March/April 2006
“Staying True to Cool”
- Sunset, August 2006
“Uncrowded national parks”
- NY Daily News, July 9, 2007
“Coasts of utopia –California & Washington national parks offer paradise on the Pacific”
- USA Today, August 14, 2008
“10 great places that veer off the beaten path”
- CNN.com, Spring 2009
“Caverns by Kayak”
- National Geographic Traveler, July 2010
“The Real Southern California: TheseIslandsChannel a Different Kind of LA”
- Sunset Magazine, August 2010
“Park it at the beach”
- Sunset Magazine, September 2011
“Mellow Yellow, Limoncello”
- San Joaquin Magazine, January 2012
“Ventura and Oxnard– gateways to Channel Islands National Park”
- USA Today, February 10, 2012
“10 Great Places to Get Drenched in Chocolate”
This is just a mere snapshot of the coverage AFC has garnered over the past years.
To give an even better idea of how impactful AFC has been in garnering media coverage and re-shaping Ventura’s reputation, here are the numbers, and they speak for themselves:
Paid Advertising Equivalency: $18,713,997
Total Impressions: 315,728,171
Ann Flower Communications has successfully built Ventura’s reputation from one of anonymity to that of being one of the most attractive escapes to the drive market and a major destination among national travelers. AFC has garnered coverage in all types of media, from print to online to TV and radio coverage.
A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash
A RAPID-FIRE CAMPAIGN TO GENERATE MEDIA BUZZ AND BUMP TICKET SALES
A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash is the ultimate tribute to Man in Black with remarkable performances by world-class bands and musicians. Representing a range of musical genres from Rockabilly to Outlaw Country to Punk, the 2011 event featured Kris Kristofferson, X, The Blasters, Lee Rockers from the Stray Cats, and more. Other highlights include a gallery of vintage cars and motorcycles, priceless Cash family memorabilia and auction, and a juried pin-up contest.
AFC drew upon the festival’s superior line-up and broad appeal, given the popularity of Johnny Cash and summer concerts. We also promoted the event as a fun, family-friendly event and a therefore a great way to celebrate Father’s Day Weekend.
To secure widespread pre-coverage in print, online and broadcast media to create buzz and boost ticket sales. Position the Johnny Cash Music Festival as a world-class musical event and the premier tribute to Johnny Cash in Southern California.
- Target radio to secure interviews and ticket giveaways for frequent exposure
- Secure calendar listings on Central Coast and Southern California websites, daily papers and community weeklies
- Secure placement on morning news shows, including interviews with the festival’s important personalities, to discuss unique festival highlights.
- Distribute media alert to TV to secure interest in filming the event’s great visuals and sounds.
- Invite the online music, culture, and arts influencers to the event
In spite of being hired only four weeks before the event, AFC secured extensive coverage including print, internet, radio and TV. Radio highlights include an interview with headliner Kris Kristofferson on Newstalk 920 KPSI, a ticket giveaway and promotion on JACK FM 93.1 and an interview with Johnny’s daughter Cindy Cash on KKZZ AM Ventura.
KCAL 9 (CBS 2) hosted a great interview with Cindy Cash, and KESQ 3 HD TV in Palm Springs ran a segment promoting the festival. Extended event listings and calendar listings appeared in all the major Los Angeles online and print publications including at least twice in the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, NBC Los Angeles, MarPop.com (by FOX TV personality Mar Yvette), 944, and Drink Eat Travel.
Los Angeles Magazine, though unable to include in their schedule because of the time constraint, hosted a giveaway for a pair of tickets to all their online subscribers. In Ventura, the VC Reporter featured the festival, and the editors of the Ventura County Reporter and Ventana Monthly attended to provide post-coverage. Coverage also appeared in the key feeder market newspapers: San Francisco Chronicle, all of San Gabriel Valley’s Beacon Media newspapers (with a total circulation 100,000), the Desert Sun and Desert Post, the Bakersfield Californian, and the Santa Barbara Independent.
Los Angeles Times Travel & Adventure Show
GENERATING FAR-REACHING MEDIA COVERAGE AND INCREASING ATTENDANCE
For the best travel advice and destination ideas all under one roof, the L.A. Times Travel & Adventure Show, the largest consumer travel trade expo in the U.S., caters to arm-chair travelers and globe-trotting adventurers alike. The show features informative seminars by award-winning travel experts, over 400 exhibitors showcasing the most alluring destinations and activities, exclusive trip giveaways, and exciting hands-on activities.
The AFC campaign focused on the show’s most unique aspects that provide for an unbeatable consumer experience. The educational portion includes seminars by world-famous travel journalists and TV personalities Rick Steves, Arthur Frommer, Andrew McCarthy, Samantha Brown, and others. For a glimpse into the adventures that travels await, attendees can take part in fun in-house activities like scuba diving, a zip line, steer-roping, and rock-climbing.
To secure widespread coverage in print, online and broadcast media. Establish the L.A. Times Travel & Adventure Show as Southern California’s premier travel expo and generate public awareness to maximize attendance.
- Build online “buzz” by teaming-up with the Los Angeles-based online travel writing community and gathering influential bloggers together for a media preview day.
- Distribute multiple press releases to maintain interest among the media. Pitch angles specific to the readership of various publications.
- Secure calendar listings on L.A.websites, daily papers and community weeklies to spread the word.
- Target morning news shows to highlight the expo’s outstanding visuals, such as the rock climbing wall and scuba pool.
- Secure radio interviews for the show’s talent with high-profile radio personalities.
AFC attained extensive TV coverage, including: four separate news segments on the press preview day with Fox 11 News to showcase the hands-on activities; two morning segments with KTLA also featuring activities; an interview with L.A. Times writer Chris Reynolds on KCAL 9 News; KEYT’S Travel Minute was devoted to the Travel Show and a segment on KEYT interviewing the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau regarding their participation in the Show.
Radio shows also provided in-depth coverage, including multiple hits on KFWB (CBS affiliate): Anthony Dias’ Blue Lifestyle Minute, Money 101 and Rudy Maxa. The expo was also featured on “The News Bender” on KFI, Johnny Jet, Peter Greenberg Worldwide, Around the World Radio, Armed Forces Radio, “Traveling with Francoise” and three segments on KKZZ Ventura.
The expo appeared all over the internet, especially in the “blogosphere,” including Gallivanting, the Vacation Gals, Travels with Two, Drink Eat Travel, Huffington Post, and the Southern California Meetings + Events blog. A listing ran in Los Angeles Magazine’s The Guide online, as well as in NBC Los Angeles, Fishbowl LA, Los Angeles.com, and Dig Lounge. The popular L.A. news and event website LAist ran a photographed article. In addition to numerous calendar listings, print media highlights included Pasadena Magazine, which ran an extended listing with a captioned photo and an article in L.A. Parent.
L.A. Flea Market
CULTIVATING A MEDIA FRENZY SURROUNDING A BRAND NEW BUSINESS VENTURE
The new L.A. Flea Market, brainchild of flea market veteran Phillip Dane, aims to provide an unparalleled bargain-hunting experience. The market features a large selection of well-screened vendors of new, vintage and antiques merchandise, including designer clothing, collectibles furniture, art and home décor. With its centrally located, iconic venue of Dodger Stadium and unique services provided, the L.A. Flea Market is positioned to become the best flea market in the Los Angeles area.
To launch the market, AFC emphasized the unique aspects of the L.A. Flea Market in order to set it apart from other open air markets. A V.I.P option provided access to a shaded lounge area with complimentary beverages, misting fans, and executive toilets, as well as a carry-out service for purchased items. At the mobile food court, an innovative alternative to over-priced, mediocre food stands, shoppers enjoyed gourmet grub courtesy of L.A.’s beloved food trucks including the infamous LudoBites truck. Adjacent to the food court was live entertainment in the form of local up-and-coming bands, and kids had fun in the special play area. A special community section garnered support for non-profit organizations and the event was staffed by Homeboy Industries. The Grand Opening featured a “Hollywood Yard Sale,” hosted by Rick Dees, which auctioned off celebrity donations in support of the Salvation Army.
To establish the L.A. Flea Market as an entertaining, dynamic shopping opportunity and differentiate it from the numerous other open-air markets in the Los Angeles area. Generate as much coverage as possible and build public awareness in order to attract the highest number of attendees.
To seek widespread coverage in print, online and broadcast media. Build “buzz” among Angeleno consumers by distributing frequent press releases and reaching out to popular fashion magazines, lifestyle publications, daily newspapers, trade publications, and high-traffic blogs that provide relevant and up-to-date information on special events. Secure event and calendar listings. Target high-profile food writers and bloggers. Arrange pre-opening interviews with the founder and Rick Dees to generate excitement for Grand Opening. Distribute follow-up release to announce success of the market and maintain dialogue with media to secure post-coverage and promote future market dates.
Amount of coverage exceeded expectations. The AFC campaign secured pre- and post-coverage from the Los Angeles Times on eight different occasions, including stories in the Food, Home & Garden, and Style sections, and twice in their alternative weekly, BRAND X. Sunset Magazine chose the market as an “Editor’s Pick,” the L.A. Weekly ran event listings, a post on their popular food blog Squid Ink and chose it as “Best New Flea Market” for their “Best of L.A.” issue.
AFC arranged for an interview with Rick Dees to promote the event on KCAL News and crews covered the event resulting in coverage on several network affiliates. KABC-AM and KPPC-FM radio both ran reoccurring stories. Other print coverage included 944Los Angeles, the Daily News,Campus Circle, the Orange County Register, Downtown News and La Opinion.
The market’s hype spread feverishly throughout the web, appearing on the Zagat Guide, CitySearch, About.com, FlavorPill, DailyCandy, Racked L.A., Grub Street L.A., ABC online, the Huffington Post, the KPPC radio network blog, Food She Thought, and LA.com, among others.
The grand opening was hugely successful, attracting over 12,000 attendees.
Linq Restaurant and Lounge
ESTABLISHING LINQ RESTAURANT & LOUNGE AS A CHIC LOS ANGELES DINNER AND NIGHTLIFE DESTINATION
Objective: Linq Restaurant & Lounge opened on January 15, 2000 in Los Angeles under the direction of proprietor Mario Oliver – the owner and entrepreneur behind other famed restaurants such as Le Petit Four and Tryst. Joining forces with interior designer Dodd Mitchell and Executive Chef Andre Guerreo, Oliver created a unique fusion of sophisticated fine dining and accomplished high-end interior décor.
Based on the agency’s strong background in restaurant public relations and their experience with handling launches, Ann Flower Communications was tasked with projecting Linq as a chic, high-end restaurant and nightlife destination.
Key Strategies: To build “buzz” among key media for the new restaurant prior to its opening, the agency conducted a media blitz focusing on the national media market.
The agency targeted national travel and food publications such as American Way, Wine Spectator and Santé. In order to encourage further media coverage outside of traditional food and travel press publications, the agency marketed Linq as a trendy, high-profile restaurant that catered to celebrities.
The agency often hosted small groups of influential journalists from a range of media outlets, thus allowing them to experience the Linq cuisine and ambience first-hand. Dinner events were also held approximately once a week to garner media recognition of the restaurant.
Key Results: Key consumer magazines that covered Linq included Sante, Elle, Esquire, Wine Spectator and InStyle. The restaurant was also featured in major market newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and USA Today, and business publications such as Newsweek and the Los Angeles Business Journal. In-flight coverage included publications such as Spirit of Aloha, Delta Sky and Southwest Airlines, and key West Coast coverage included Los Angeles Magazine and Bel Air Magazine.
The agency additionally garnered international coverage for the restaurant, which appeared in publications such as Japanese Vogue and German Elle.
Due to the agency’s efforts, Linq Restaurant & Lounge became “the talk of the town,” and often hosted celebrities such as Ben Affleck, René Zellweger, Reese Witherspoon and George Clooney. Due to critical and media buzz alike, Linq became a well-known – and always crowded – entity on the Los Angeles restaurant scene, and even appeared in an episode of HBO’s Sex and the City.
Opus Hotel Vancouver
ESTABLISHING OPUS HOTEL AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S PREMIERE BOUTIQUE LUXURY HOTELS
Objective: Opus Hotel, the third major hotel project by The Trilogy Group of Companies, opened in August 2002. Located in Vancouver’s historic and fashionable Yaletown district, the boutique hotel’s 96 guestrooms and suites feature sixteen unique design configurations, ranging from sleek minimalism to eclectic modernism.
Based on the agency’s strong track record in both hotel marketing and handling launches, Ann Flower Communications was tasked with raising image and awareness for this new property in both the United States and Canada.
Key Strategies: To build “buzz” among key media for the new hotel prior to its opening, the agency conducted a media blitz focusing on both the U.S. and Canadian media markets.
Architectura, the Vancouver firm responsible for Opus’ interior design, designed the hotel’s rooms with five specific, fictitious guests in mind. One such personality, for example, was “Dede,” a Malibu actress who loved animal prints and fake fur, while another was “Billy,” an independent London filmmaker. Ann Flower Communications focused on these fictitious characters to market the individual nature of each Opus room, and emphasized the various décor styles created to suit each traveler’s varied taste.
The agency also arranged for individual journalist hard-hat tours and interviews with the general manager while Opus was being built, and coordinated a media outreach campaign geared toward national newspapers, national travel and consumer magazines, trade magazines, etc. when the property opened.
Now, the agency continues to pitch hotel packages and general hotel news to major media markets. The agency orchestrates press trips to Opus Hotel on a twice-yearly basis, and recently completed a British based media trip to the property.
In addition, Ann Flower Communications capitalized on the celebrity clientele that were attracted to the hotel as a result of the publicity – which in turn opened doors to even more media opportunities.
Key Results: Most notably, Opus Hotel was featured in the 76th and 77th Annual Academy Awards Presenters’ Gift Baskets, and was included in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2003 Gold List.
Key consumer magazines that covered Opus Hotel included Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, TravelAge West, Town & Country Travel and Elite Traveler. The hotel was also featured in major market newspapers including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and key West Coast outlets such as the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Diego Union Tribune. In-flight coverage included publications such as Spirit of Aloha, Horizon Air, Delta Sky and Departures. Regional magazine coverage included New York Magazine and Seattle Magazine, and entertainment coverage included InTouch, US Weekly and E! Entertainment TV. Opus Hotel receives regular coverage in local Vancouver publications such as the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Magazine and The Province, and has also been featured in publications as diverse as Bride’s, Elle Décor and Metropolitan Home.
The agency additionally garnered coverage in international publications such as the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age (Victoria, Australia), the Daily Telegraph (London) and Esquire UK.