Winter, You Win: Ithaca Convention and Visitors Bureau “Surrenders” to Key West with an Unconventional Campaign that Goes Viral
SPECIAL SECTION: CONTEMPORARY MARKETING STRATEGIES AS COMMUNICATION TOOLS FOR MODERN RETAILERS
Keywords:visitithaca.com, social media, reverse psychology marketing, viral marketing, eWOM
With record-breaking cold and snow affecting the Northeast corridor, the Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) faced an even more dauntingly slow winter season than usual in its central New York community with diverse retailers, restaurants, and attractions. Using shock value and humor, the CVB created a reverse psychology marketing campaign by “surrendering” to the weather and, through messages on its website and a sponsored Facebook post, recommended visitors travel to sunny Key West instead of Ithaca. The campaign resulted in more than 1,000 stories in media outlets, the highest traffic ever to its VisitIthaca.com site, and the number one trending topic on Facebook and Twitter. The CVB used the media spotlight to convey positive messages about its local businesses and capitalized on digital traffic to remarket to newly acquired contacts using a warm weather promotion. This case study provides an overview of the rationale and campaign components and looks at viral marketing and electronic word-of-mouth.