Philly tourism initiative gets GLAAD award nomination

Philadelphia’s pioneering LGBT marketing campaign has been nominated for its first award from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

GLAAD announced last week that the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Campaign was one of four nominees vying for the organization’s Outstanding Interactive Campaign in its first annual Media Awards in Advertising. The winners will be announced at an Oct. 27 reception in New York City.

GPTMC’s latest leg of its highly successful “Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay” campaign, originally launched in 2003, was nominated alongside Rogaine, Toyota Scion and Hyatt Resorts. Thirteen other nominees were announced in four other categories, but Philadelphia was the only city among the contenders.

GPTMC’s initial LGBT campaign used historical figures like Betsy Ross and Ben Franklin to draw in potential tourists, but the latest effort, launched in March of last year, utilizes everyday LGBT Philadelphians to tell the story of the city’s LGBT life to visitors. The “We Your People” ads have been seen in LGBT publications throughout the country and GPTMC’s Web site features photos and bios of the people profiled in the ads, as well as information about the city’s LGBT offerings.

“‘We Your People’ was really the evolution of the ‘Get Your History Straight’ campaign,” said Jeff Guaracino, vice president of communications at GPTMC. “Once we got the attention for the original campaign, we thought, ‘How can we keep this going and stay competitive?’ So we decided the best way to evolve it was to show travelers a modern-day Philadelphia with our own locals.”

Guaracino credited the diverse group of LGBT business owners and professionals in “We Your People” with fueling LGBT tourism to the city and garnering the nomination.

“This is a campaign that features people who live here and work here, people you can meet out at bars or at restaurants or at their shops. They’re really the ones who are being nominated.”

In the past six years, GPTMC has won numerous awards for the campaign, including several from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, the U.S. Travel Association and publication PR Week.

Guaracino said GPTMC’s first GLAAD nomination is a welcome addition to its slate of accomplishments.

“For a campaign that has had a history of being groundbreaking and for winning major awards in advertising, public relations and travel, we’re really excited that our new direction has gotten attention from our industry and from GLAAD,” he said.

The campaign is going to keep evolving, Guaracino noted, especially in light of the economy.

“We’re looking right now at making a strategic shift in how we get the word out. We’re going to be targeting people who are coming into the city from a little closer to home now that there’s less money to spend on major travel.”

Guaracino said GPTMC is also planning to expand its online efforts and tap into the social-media phenomenon to attract new LGBT tourists.

Jen Colletta can be reached at [email protected].