National ad campaigns showcase Cedar Key, Levy, and Florida Seafood

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By Kellie Parkin

A spate of ads promoting Levy County, Cedar Key and Florida’s seafood are currently receiving airtime in major markets across the country. 

Last month images of Levy County began appearing in cities around the nation as Visit Florida began airing a 40-second television ad, with an additional 10-second rotational ad from the counties that are part of the Emergency Declaration.

The Visit Florida ad campaign is funded from the $25 million tourism grant from BP.

Levy County’s ad, designed by the Levy County Visitors Bureau, is a voiceover with photographs. The script reads, “Experience life at a slower, more reflective pace with our cozy seaside towns, excellent fishing, and crystal clear springs. Visit Levy County and her beautiful islands on the Gulf coast of Florida.”

The ad aired for three weeks on National Cable channels, as well as in cities such as Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Baltimore, New York, Louisville, Nashville, New Orleans, Raleigh, St. Louis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Detroit, and others, said Levy County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carol McQueen.

“We have already started receiving calls about the TV ads,” McQueen said. “People want more information on Levy County.” She said the visitors bureau mails out information packets to people interested in the area.

The Levy ad will air again mid-July for another three week rotation, McQueen said. The Levy County Visitors Bureau just completed a 20-second radio spot as well, McQueen said. It is expected to begin airing July 12.

While the Levy County TV ads were just hitting the screens in early June, Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce secretary Andrea Dennison approached Visit Florida, the state’s official visitors bureau, and asked that Cedar Key be included in the wide-scale television ad campaign.  No one at the Cedar Key Chamber was aware of the simultaneous Levy County Visitors Bureau ad.

Cedar Key was granted the request – and is the smallest city to be included in the advertising promotion, said Chamber president Tina Ryan.

“We are very proud of the fact that directly through the efforts of our Board Secretary, Andrea Dennison, Cedar Key was one of a few cities in Florida that was granted the opportunity to add a tag line to the Visit Florida ad,” Ryan said. “We are definitely the smallest city.” 

Ryan expects this to do great things for the island community. “This free advertising is a huge opportunity to get people from all over to see Cedar Key.”

The 10-second script states, “Cedar Key is beauty and nature at its finest. Historic streets. World famous restaurants. Incomparable sunsets. All that's missing is you. Cedar Key is waiting. Visit CedarKey.org.”

The ad is scheduled to air this month in the same major markets as the Levy County spot.

Another video that benefits Levy’s seafood industry can be seen on the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Florida Seafood website www.FL-Seafood.com and will soon air on TV in limited markets. The video shows images of fisherman working in the beautiful landscape of Florida while a narrator reads, “Times have been hard for Florida's commercial fishermen. A tough economy, and now a massive oil spill in the Gulf. Some are out of business.  Others on the brink. But Florida's commercial fishing industry has a proud heritage.  Fishing built our coastal towns, and shaped our state's history. 

“Florida seafood is a tradition long enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Whether eating in or dining out, whenever family and friends get together, it's always a special time when Florida seafood is on the table. And, despite the images from the Gulf, Florida seafood is safe and ready to be enjoyed. The fresh catch from clean, unaffected Florida waters is coming in daily. We're in business, but we need you. Pay a visit to your local fish market or coastal seafood restaurant, and enjoy Florida's delicious seafood harvest that so many, work so hard, to bring to you.”

The Department of Agriculture has also partnered with three major grocery stores to promote Florida seafood throughout July and August.

Publix Super Markets, Kroger Stores Atlanta Region, and Central Market/HEB in Texas will advertise Florida seafood products in their newspaper supplements and in-store promotions using the "Fresh from Florida Seafood" and the "Florida Gulf Safe" logos, according to a department spokesperson.

"The extensive news coverage of the Gulf oil spill has left some consumers with the mistaken impression that Florida seafood is unavailable or in limited supply,”  Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson said. “This promotion will help get out the message that Florida seafood is safe, plentiful and available."

The Department of Agriculture maintains a toll-free Florida Seafood Hotline at (800) 357-4273 where callers can get daily updates about Florida's ongoing commercial seafood harvest. Visit www.FL-Seafood.com for current information about the status of Florida's open and closed fishing harvest areas, the availability of seafood varieties, and general pricing information.