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WATCH: Richmond Region Tourism’s new marketing campaign proves Richmond “speaks for itself”

The campaign will run June 1, 2023, through June 2024, and is expected to reach more than 80 million potential travelers through connected TV in selected markets in the East Coast and southern United States, as well as on social media, digital display ads and out-of-home digital billboards in select markets.

Trevor Dickerson

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Richmond Region Tourism has launched a new, multi-channel $2 million marketing campaign to inspire travel to the destination. “Speaks for Itself” is a first-of-its-kind campaign for the Richmond Region, targeting potential travelers in East Coast and southern U.S. markets through an unconventional, sound-focused video approach centered around the genuine and authentic character of the region. It also marks a historic opportunity for Richmond Region Tourism to invest more than double its normal budget for tourism marketing.

A 60-second video preview was unveiled to the local hospitality community at Richmond Region Tourism’s 2023 Tourism Awards and Annual Meeting on May 11. The campaign video takes inspiration from popular ASMR content on social media to communicate what it’s like for visitors to experience the Richmond Region – a destination marked by an understated authenticity that even locals find hard to define.

“The Richmond Region speaks to every visitor in different ways,” said Jack Berry, President & CEO of Richmond Region Tourism. “Trying to find a pithy slogan to sum up the region simply wouldn’t do it justice, which is why we’re so excited by this campaign—it provides a platform for local voices and experiences to shine and encourages visitors to take in the many diverse sides of the region.”

The campaign also reflects an effort of community collaboration across the Richmond region. Six jurisdictions including the City of Richmond, Chesterfield County, Hanover County, Henrico County, Colonial Heights and the Town of Ashland contributed funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) via Virginia Tourism Corporation, which must be used specifically for tourism recovery efforts.

“It’s the little moments that make a visit to a destination special, and this campaign embraces and celebrates those experiences in a uniquely Richmond way,” said Richmond Region Tourism Board Chair Dan Schmitt. “They could happen at a buzzy restaurant downtown or in a peaceful park in Henrico. This campaign is remarkable in how it can be embraced and adapted across the region’s many jurisdictions.”

Richmond Region Tourism partnered with ChamberRVA and the Greater Richmond Partnership to review a competitive set of proposals from more than a dozen marketing agencies and selected Richmond-based agency Padilla to create and deliver the campaign.

To ensure that the campaign authentically reflected the Richmond Region, Padilla interviewed more than 60 local leaders and community members during campaign concepting including the BLKRVA and OutRVA committees, business owners, government officials, museum staff, college administrators and more. Keeping with the “Speaks for Itself” theme, local influencers also are being tapped to create unique ASMR-style videos that will be promoted in the campaign’s target markets.

The campaign will run June 1, 2023, through June 2024, and is expected to reach more than 80 million potential travelers through connected TV in selected markets in the East Coast and southern United States, as well as on social media, digital display ads and out-of-home digital billboards in select markets.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.