: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau: Hello Sunny


Client: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
Category: Travel, Transportation, Tourism & Hospitality
Agency: Starmark
Country: United States
Year: 2014


Campaign Summary

The warmth of Broward County, Florida – home of Fort Lauderdale -- is welcomed and loved by tourists, especially those fleeing cold, cloudy climates. Broward County loves tourists right back. They are its number one source of revenue and employment.

But the fortunes of Broward County tourism are tied to the economy. When the economy was at an all-time high in 2007, tax revenues were more than $41 million. When the economy began its downward trend in 2009, they reached a low of $33.6 million. Because hotel bed taxes in the county fund tourism marketing, marketing budgets fell.

To stop the downward spiral, the agency Starmark stepped in.  Starmark built a fully integrated, consistent, year over year campaign for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau called, “Hello Sunny.” The campaign helped Broward County become one of the top performers in the state of Florida. Overall occupancy rates, tourism tax collections, and ADR (average daily rates charged by hotels) increased as the campaign took hold.


Objective and Context

The overall strategy in 2014 was to build on the foundation of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) successful 2013 “Hello Sunny” branding campaign by continuing to increase brand awareness and brand recall through the use of new tactics and mobile-driven technology.

The campaign specifically aimed to:

  • Increase year-over-year occupancy by three percent.
  • Support the destination’s goal to increase the average daily rate of occupancy, and
  • Stimulate people to take winter vacations in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

To this end, Starmark aimed to drive traffic to sunny.org and GFLCVB’s social channels, and to create buzz via memorable and shareable consumer experiences.


Creative Strategy

The overarching creative strategy was to create a fun and memorable brand experience that would resonate with all people, lifestyles and cultures through a focused messaging strategy, segmented through experiential events, and print, online, and TV messaging.

In early January 2014, GFLCVB posted a ‘Hello Sunny’ warm and welcoming mega billboard on one of the busiest intersections in Times Square to build buzz, timed with the Super Bowl, which was being held at MetLife Stadium across the Hudson River that year. This Times Square location would become part of New York’s "Super Bowl Avenue" of celebration and pre-game events. A greater than usual return on impressions was anticipated due to the Big Game and the media surrounding it.  A “Hello Sunny” thirty-second TV commercial began to air in New York in January. The campaign’s digital and print continued during this phase.

To continue building buzz in New York, Starmark branded New York’s Pedicabs with “Hello Sunny.” They featured GFL-brand messaging in New York’s first-ever heated bus shelter, which was installed across the street from Grand Central Station. It included imagery of swimsuit models, and heated lounge-chair style seating. GFL used it for a day-long event.

On January 28, GFL took over Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station.  This interactive event included GFL’s partner, JetBlue, giving away vacations each hour with the “Hello Sunny” and JetBlue brands positioned together in a fun, memorable and interactive way. Enter-to-win kiosks were strategically positioned throughout the event for lead generation.

Then Starmark moved the Vanderbilt event to JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK airport. A GFL beach-themed oasis took over an island area in T5’s gate area, with many opportunities for social sharing on passengers’ mobile devices.  The oasis remained at this location for a week, greeting and hosting passengers and Super Bowl travelers. Event attendees posed for pictures with swimsuit models, surfboards and lifeguards. They also posed with giant “Hello Sunny”-branded sunglasses. Their photo opps were shared via their mobile devices on their own social networks, and the photos were uploaded to GFL’s Facebook and Instagram pages for further exposure. Fanwise, a vending machine utilizing Starmark proprietary technology was on location, dispensing free “Hello Sunny” sunglasses to consumers who simply posted or tweeted GFL-generated content to social networks.  

The experience supported and encouraged the use mobile devices. A “Defrost Your Swimsuit” mobile app enabled users to instantly transport themselves to Fort Lauderdale and share their beach bod photos online. A mobile phone “solar” charging station was created so consumers could refresh and recharge in a comfortable beach-type atmosphere with the brand. Additionally, this gave consumers more opportunity for social sharing by charging their mobile devices on location; and ultimately, this led to more brand exposure for GFL. Thirty-five percent of the campaign budget was successfully used on mobile technology.

The mobile technology used at both locations gave consumers the instant ability to share their GFL brand experience with their social networks in real time. It also gave the brand itself the ability to feature these moments on their own social pages such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, engaging the brand’s hundreds of thousands of followers who could not attend the event.

The campaign was Mobile Marketing Assocation compliant.


The campaign exceeded expectations and objectives at every level.  The best result is the highest level of bed tax collection - EVER. 

Highlights of the program included:

  • PR impressions that totaled almost 360 million with a total media value of almost $3 million.
  • A 75% increase in hotel bookings made directly on sunny.org.
  • A 20% increase in sunny.org visits from the New York metropolitan area.
  • Visits by over 9,000 consumers to Grand Central Station during the day of the event.
  • Between Grand Central Station and JFK’s Terminal 5, almost 13,500 entries were collected, with over 80% opting in.

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