FLORIDA TAKES HUMOROUS TOURISM TACK

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The Florida Division of Tourism uses humor and emotion in its latest ad campaign.

The effort, themed "Return to your senses in Florida," broke nationally Nov. 23. Ads attempt to create awareness and demand, while letting the industry sell the amenities and attractions, said Charles Dusseau, secretary of the state Department of Commerce, which oversees the tourism division. "We are taking a new approach in our tourism advertising," Mr. Dusseau said during a conference call with industry executives and the media.

He said the intent is to work with private tourism interests, which spend an estimated $150 million a year promoting Florida, to arrange extensive co-op ad packages. Fahlgren Benito, Tampa, is the agency of record for the $6.7 million state account.

One spot shows a family on a beach. The man asks the woman to pinch him, at which point he stirs-screaming-from a daydream in his office.

Another, "Do You Think He'll Be in a Good Mood?," has four visibly stressed office workers waiting at an airport gate and wondering aloud whether their boss will return relaxed from two weeks in Florida. The blissful boss emerges from the gateway, sees the employees, and returns-frowning-to the plane.

The spots will play through May in a combination of network, spot and cable runs in New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dallas, Houston and Toronto.

Print breaking in February consumer and travel trade magazines sells the theme by relying on the tagline and the visual comparison of a rain umbrella and a beach umbrella, a psychiatrist's chair and a lounge chair, and a videocassette recorder fast-forward button and a pause button.

For the year through September, the number of visitors to Florida was down 1.1% to 31.3 million. Crime combined with foul weather and perceived high costs are three issues that have hurt tourism.

The state's "One Florida, Many Faces" campaign, which broke in July 1993, will still run internationally, including the U.K., Germany, France and Japan.

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