Visit Alexandria Launches New Black Travel Campaign
September 9, 2021
Visit Alexandria Launches New Black Travel Campaign
“Drop In” Campaign Features Iconic Travel Experiences While Highlighting Black Business Owners and Leaders
Alexandria, VA—Visit Alexandria announces a new ad campaign and digital content launching on Monday to welcome Black visitors to Alexandria, VA, a historic waterfront city located within eyesight of Washington, D.C. The new initiative taps into a $109.4 billion market, the value of annual spending by Black U.S. leisure travelers according to MMGY Global.
Black business owners and leaders are highlighted in the campaign which features both iconic and new travel experiences. In telling the story of a city with nationally significant Black history, the campaign acknowledges the city’s past and progress forward due to the contributions of African Americans.
“We’re thrilled to roll out this major new campaign to build on our last 8 years of painting a more complete and inclusive picture of Alexandria,” said Visit Alexandria President & CEO Patricia Washington. “Our destination is more ready than ever for this campaign given the City of Alexandria’s investment and development of new Black history experiences through the Office of Historic Alexandria, citywide priority around race and social equity, as well as newly-opened businesses and the transformation of our waterfront.”
With supplementary funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, Visit Alexandria had the opportunity to hire one of the top agencies in the country to develop the ad campaign: Award-winning Creative Theory Agency, named one of the nation’s Best Small Agencies of 2020 by Ad Age. Creative Theory Agency is a culture-focused marketing agency based in Washington, D.C., co-founded by Gary Williams, Jr. and Tamon George.
Williams, an Alexandria resident who appears in the campaign, said, “I believed in this project from the beginning and jumped at the chance to share a deeper story with potential travelers who will love the city as much as I do. And I learned so much more about my hometown in terms of history that has not been amplified before plus all the new things happening here.”
Advertising Campaign and New Assets
The campaign tagline “Drop In” conveys a sense of welcome while referencing the excitement of unplanned discovery and surprise that visitors have when they come to Alexandria.
Featured Black business leaders include Stuart Robinson, manager of Misha’s Coffee; John T. Chapman, owner of Manumission Tour Company; Audrey Davis, director of the Alexandria Black History Museum; Nicole McGrew, owner of Threadleaf boutique; and Brandon Byrd, owner of Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats.
Featured scenes include the Old Town waterfront, the King Street pedestrian block and outdoor dining “streetery,” and cobblestoned Captain’s Row, plus experiences like a cruise on the water taxi, biking the Mount Vernon Trail, shopping at independent boutiques, taking a guided Black history tour and visiting sites like the Alexandria Black History Museum and Freedom House Museum.
The “Drop In” campaign will be seen by prospective overnight travelers within a 5-hour drive radius across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Pathfinders Magazine. The 60-second campaign video can be viewed on the campaign landing page at VisitAlexandriaVA.com/DropIn.
The project also generated hundreds of new photos and hours of b-roll video footage that will be used throughout Visit Alexandria’s marketing and PR content.
The new “Drop In” campaign is part of Visit Alexandria’s expanded marketing to diverse audiences. This month, Visit Alexandria is launching a Spanish-language campaign in regional print, radio and social media channels accompanied by Spanish-language web content and Visitor Center materials.
The tourism marketing organization continues to expand inclusive storytelling while highlighting local businesses. In 2021, Visit Alexandria promoted AAPI-owned businesses during a campaign in May for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and the 2021-2022 Alexandria Visitor Guide featured new editorial content dedicated to African American heritage sites, Black-owned businesses and more.
This fall, Visit Alexandria is also featuring Hispanic Heritage Month events and Latino- and Latina-owned businesses as well Indigenous history and experiences like the new Intertribal Creatives gallery and shop in Old Town. In 2020, Visit Alexandria launched expanded Black history content and the organization’s most-viewed blog post of the year, Black-owned Businesses to Support Right Now.
ABOUT VISIT ALEXANDRIA AND ALEXANDRIA, VA
Visit Alexandria is the nonprofit tourism marketing organization for Alexandria, Virginia. Recognized as a Top 5 Best Small City in the U.S. for the third consecutive year alongside Charleston and Santa Fe by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel and a walkable lifestyle—a welcoming weekend escape on the Potomac River waterfront minutes from our nation’s capital. Founded in 1749, Old Town Alexandria is the nation’s third oldest locally designated historic district, boasting more than 200 independent restaurants and boutiques alongside intimate historic museums and new happenings at the waterfront. At the heart of it all is bustling King Street, a walkable mile recognized as one of the “Great Streets” of America. Walk in the footsteps of George Washington and America’s Founding Fathers while learning about Black history and African American changemakers that have shaped the history of Alexandria and the U.S. Learn more at VisitAlexandriaVA.com.
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