Virginia Beach’s Identity Crisis
Excuse me for a minute while I cast about for adjectives.
OK here are a few: Sophomoric. Confusing. Cringe-inducing.
I’m trying to describe the latest advertising campaign brought to you by the Mensa members running Virginia Beach’s Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Yep, that’s it. That’s what they’ve come up with, for a beach town.
You can just tell that these advertising whizzes think their ad campaign is hip and clever. Full of mild double entendres that make no point and absolutely no sense.
Think about it. They’re trying to lure people to Virginia Beach - by urging them not to go to the beach.
Our tax dollars at work.
There is another half to this campaign, a “Go Beach” ad. A phony spot that pretends to be opposing the first. It’s even worse.
I hesitate to point this out, but BEACH is right in the name of the city. It’s the main reason people travel hundreds of miles to visit.
They do not come to our little corner of Southeastern Virginia for our museums. Such as they are. Anyone else remember the summer Virginia Beach paid nearly a million dollars to put the Magna Carta on display at the Contemporary Art Center and no one came? Shoot I spent a day on the boardwalk back then asking tourists what the Magna Carta was and no one knew. One guy thought it must be a new credit card. Another thought it was a type of giant bird.
They don’t come for our state parks either. Or our historical sites or our mini golf courses.
The come for our 28 miles of public beaches.
Have you ever seen the face of a visitor from New Jersey after she asks a local where to go to buy beach badges?
It’s a priceless marriage of disbelief and ecstasy. Public beaches that are free! Northerners can’t believe it.
Worse, these Go Beachless ads are popping up in airports and in the New York subway system. Have any of the cubicle-dwelling knotheads who cooked this up ever been to NYC? Do they think for a second a New Yorker would travel 363 miles to visit one of our museums?
New Yorkers have some of the best museums in the world. But I’ll tell you what they don’t have in Manhattan: Beaches. Big beautiful sandy beaches, clean water and a mild climate.
This is just another example of dull, unimaginative people trying to twist the city into something it’s not. For years they wanted Virginia Beach to be a “golf mecca.” That went bust. Then they wanted to waste a billion dollars or so on a light rail system to transport tourists from the Oceanfront to the Cheesecake Factory. The voters stopped that slice of lunacy.
A promotional campaign telling people to come to town but to avoid the city’s loveliest attraction.
Here’s a better idea to promote our city: “If you don’t like the beach, vacation somewhere else.”
Because that’s what we are. A beach town. And a damned fine one at that.