Tourism campaign aims to expands visitors’ options

Tourism initiative touts city beyond French Quarter

The draw for many visitors to the city is simple: Bourbon Street, booze and the promise of a good time. Now, tourism officials are hoping to expand visitors’ horizons beyond the somewhat clich├ęd tour-book hot spots.

To help make that happen, the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corp. has launched “Follow Your NOLA,” a new advertising campaign designed to showcase the city’s culture, history, music and neighborhoods beyond the French Quarter.

The tourism group announced the campaign Tuesday.

“This campaign invites visitors to experience New Orleans in many areas of the city,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “As one of the fastest growing cities in America, we want to encourage our guests to experience not only the historic French Quarter, but also our unique neighborhoods, our bustling downtown and our cultural arts both on the street and in our museums.”

More than 9 million people visited the city last year, and tourism officials hope that number will grow.

With more and more visitors here, the Tourism and Marketing Board has decided to try to rebrand the city.

“The creative concept was driven by the demand to reposition New Orleans and play up its strength as a real and authentic cultural destination,” said Sarah Hofstetter, president of 360i, which created the campaign with Dentsu America. “In fact, the campaign launch coincided with the end of Jazz Fest to tie back to the city’s musical roots.”

The ads will be used on TV, the Internet and social media.

The city’s trademark symbol — the fleur-de-lis — is used to guide visitors on a journey across the city.

Prospective travelers and families are encouraged to “live like a local” and explore what is beyond “preconceived notions” about the city.

“Those who think only of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street when they think of New Orleans are about to learn so much more about NOLA from our campaign,” said Mark Romig, the tourism group’s president and CEO. “ ‘Follow Your NOLA’ symbolizes the city’s renaissance, her mystery, her adventures and her fun in every corner of the city.”

Thirty- and 15-second “Follow Your NOLA” spots feature a montage of fleur-de-lis images alongside locals, artists and other imagery that represents the city. Professor Longhair’s “Big Chief” sets the mood for the commercials.

Those commercials will be aired on broadcast TV and placed online in a selection of markets that are a short flight or drive away and also will be targeted to cities with high numbers of travelers interested in a trip to New Orleans.

Targeted fly markets include Baltimore, Houston, Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Nashville, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Dallas and Tampa.

Drive markets include Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Birmingham, Ala., Mobile, Ala., Panama City, Fla., Houston, Jackson, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn.