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TDC hears plans for new ad campaign, Web site


BRADENTON - Riding horses in the surf. Wearing flip-flops at dinner. Beautiful sunsets and awesome shopping.

That's the new message to plug Florida's Gulf Islands, the Tourist Development Council heard Monday at its meeting, as Marianne Cushing of Insight Advertising showed the new ads that are going to appear in travel magazines.

A modified logo that mentions Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch is part of the new marketing scheme, she said.

The push is to emphasize that the islands are a place where things are less complicated, though some members of the TDC seemed a bit perplexed as Cushing described how the campaign a few years ago was about how people were so busy with work that they didn't have time to relax and thus needed to come to the islands, and now they have plenty of time.

Steve Berlin of Miles Media Group described the efforts to redesign the Web site, which will soon have a new URL, www.annamariaisland-longboatkey.com.

TDC member Larry White noted that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Ringling Festival of the Arts are preparing money requests in the six-figure range, and those will be presented soon.

The biggest issue, he said, is that there will likely be another round of government spending cuts at the state level, which will affect the marketing efforts. "We have a challenge ahead of us in 2010," he said.

At the Convention Center, work is expected to start soon on the roof and the bathrooms, and next year the center will close for 60 days for more work. Also, the landowner of the 13-acre property next to the Convention Center is interested in selling again, and that might be the site for a hotel, if a company can be interested.


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