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Experience the LOVE of Virginia

Virginia Tourism's "Old School Virginia" recognized for best cooperative advertising campaign in the country

-VTC wins its 9th Mercury Award at U.S. Travel Association's prestigious national tourism conference-

RICHMOND, Va.,  (August 21, 2013) - Today, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) announced that the retro, small-town focused "Old School Virginia" campaign was recognized for best cooperative advertising in the country. The state tourism office was awarded with the 2013 Mercury Award for Best Cooperative Marketing on Tuesday night during the closing ceremony of US Travel Association's Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO), the largest national tourism conference of its kind, hosted this week in Richmond. This is the ninth Mercury Award for Virginia Tourism. 

In this campaign, VTC used the public's retro fascination to redefine and showcase drive-in theaters, drugstore diners, small town music jam sessions, and even the hamburger joint where Hank Williams made his last stop. Underlining these unique, small town attractions and experiences was at the core of the "Old School" cooperative campaign success.                                                                                            

"Retro is back. It's hot, hip, and fueling a resurgence of funky fun," said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of VTC. "Getting in on the fun has proven irresistible, turning an in-state cooperative opportunity into a red-hot platform that people in one-third of the world responded to. Thanks to bold thinking and refusal to think small, our team knocked it out of the hemisphere. 

Because the tourism industry in Virginia is primarily made up of small businesses with limited resources, VTC redefined co-op advertising. Instead of developing a "pay-to-play" co-op for partners with deep pockets, partner contributions were made not in the form of media dollars, but photographs and product donations to be used as prizes. This co-op was heavily based on using innovative media to showcase the partners in a fresh and current light. 

To further accelerate this unique and strategic marketing plan, VTC involved the international camera maker, LOMOGRAPHY, or LOMO. Branded, retro "Virginia is for Lovers" non-digital cameras were distributed to statewide partners, awarded as prizes for travelers, and sold throughout the world via LOMO stores and online. 

The goal was to receive 350 photographs from co-op partners and 5,000 photos submitted in the LOMOGRAPHY contest. However, those goals were far exceeded, with 2,000 photographs from Virginia attractions and towns, and nearly 27,000 photographs submitted from 68 countries in the LOMOGRAPHY photo contest. Additionally, VTC's goals for web engagement, audience engagement, content creation and more were all surpassed. Supported by innovative and targeted media placements and a widely distributed photography contest, the program results exceeded all expectation. At the end of the first year, "Old School Virginia" had reached global recognition and created a viral campaign showcasing Virginia's most authentic gems and destinations. 

"I am so proud of the outstanding creative minds at VTC that work every day to showcase why Virginia is the exclusive destination for fun, funk, and family vacations. The 2013 Mercury Award is a testament to the brilliant minds and hard working professionals who serve the Commonwealth. Today is a very proud day for VTC." 

Virginia has long been a trailblazer in tourism marketing, with the world-famous "Virginia is for Lovers" slogan celebrating 44 years in 2013. Virginia has won eight other Mercury Awards at previous ESTO conferences, and has received recognition in the past for best travel website, best state tourism office, tourism marketing excellence, international tourism marketing, and more. 

Video Links:
[VIDEO] Old School Eats in Virginia
[VIDEO] Roadside Wonders
[VIDEO] Craft Beer 

Photo Gallery:
Click "Photos" in top right corner 

To learn more about VTC's "Old School" campaign, please click here

Get in on the fun! To create your own Retro View reel, please click here. 

Simpler times are always current events in Virginia. Plan your Old School Virginia trip by visiting www.Virginia.org/OldSchool or call 1-800-VISITVA and ask for a free Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide. 

A copy of this release can be found on Virginia Tourism Corporation website here

More about Virginia Tourism Corporation 

2013 Travel Guide 

VTC Pressroom  

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Media Contact:
Caroline Gibson
Director of Corporate Communications
cgibson@virginia.org
804-545-5572

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