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Revolutionary Marketing Effort

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(Courtesy State Offices of Culture and Tourism)

(Courtesy State Offices of Culture and Tourism)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut is using a new marketing strategy to boost tourism that draws attention to the state’s role in the Revolutionary War.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy unveiled on Monday a “Still Revolutionary” Connecticut brand, part of a two-year, $27 million state marketing initiative.

The ads will run on TV to take advantage of “sweeps week” when programs reach for top ratings and on radio, print and digital platforms.

Malloy said in an interview that Connecticut’s history is worth telling and that the marketing campaign is wellth ought-out.

“I think its history throughout is worthy of note,” he said. “It tests well, people are responding to it.”

The campaign also highlights Connecticut’s early role in the Industrial Revolution when Hartford’s Colt factory made guns, Igor Sikorsky’s helicopter that took flight in Stratford in 1939 and Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin near New Haven, beginning a new phase in modern mass production.

Malloy even cited Connecticut’s role in the sexual revolution, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1965 ruling striking down a state law banning encouragement of the use of birth control and establishing a new right to marital privacy.

Malloy began his push for Connecticut tourism last year when he made money available so the state could pay $100,000 in dues and renew its membership with Discover New England. The regional tourism group left Connecticut off a website map after the state slashed its tourism marketing budget and failed to pay the dues.

“When I became governor, Connecticut had been thrown out of New England,” he said.

The stakes are high as U.S. states compete fiercely for tourist dollars. As of last year, Connecticut tourism generated about $11.5 billion in spending, $1.2 billion in state and local tax revenue and employed about 111,000 workers.

Neighboring New York is among the states Connecticut faces as a strong competitor. Its “I Love NY” marketing campaign that began in the 1970s is one of the most successful state efforts ever, and was to some extent used as a model for Connecticut, said Economic Development Commissioner Catherine Smith.

“The governor held it out to us as a goal,” she said.

Economic development officials launched an initiative in February asking residents to define what sets the state apart. Connecticut is the only one of the original 13 colonies branding itself with the Revolutionary War, state officials said.

“Only 13 states can claim history as a differentiator,” said Kip Bergstrom, deputy economic development commissioner. “We’re one of them.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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