March 2015

When Fairbanks, Alaska, is warmer than where you are in the lower 48, particularly New York State, things aren’t good. This winter more or less started with the snow blast in Buffalo late last year and has continued with the clichéd bone-chilling temps pretty much ever since.

This led, as some of you may have heard, to the Ithaca Visitors Bureau to have a little tongue-in-cheek fun on their Web site. For a few days back in February, visitithaca.com decided to essentially abandon any remaining hopes of drawing anyone to the wonderful city of Ithaca. Visitors to the site were greeted with photos of beautiful and very warm Key West complete with links to all kinds of things you can do there. The lead on their homepage read, “Due to this ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invites you to visit The Keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out. Really, it’s for the birds here now. ... P.S. Send us a postcard.”

Of course, they didn’t really mean it; Web site visitors were given a clear opportunity to go to the actual Visit Ithaca site, but not without a much-needed laugh first. A lot of marketing people are always trying to figure out how to win the social media game and this is how you do it. Reception to the joke was universally positive; CNN even picked up on it and Key West expressed their appreciation for the digital shout out. In the long run, more people will likely stop by the Ithaca site and perhaps visit the city at some point. Great job Ithaca and thanks for the smile.

Let’s see if Key West can return the favor whenever they’re having a bad weather day. P


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