Beach party brings Fort Lauderdale to Times Square

Tanya Lewis
July 13, 2012

Client: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
Agency: M. Silver Associates (New York) 
: Defrost Your Swimsuit in New York City 
 January 24 

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) and M. Silver Associates, its AOR for more than 24 years, helped New Yorkers get excited about escaping the cold by bringing the beach to Defrost-BeachBallTimes Square on January 24.

"New York is our number one market, so we wanted to create buzz and increase demand for Greater Fort Lauderdale," explains Francine Mason, VP of marketing communications at the CVB.

Swimsuits frozen in six giant ice blocks, palm trees, and a glass enclosed branded "beach mobile" were placed on the pedestrian plaza under a billboard ad displaying a beachscape atop the Times Square Toys ‘R Us building. A trip giveaway was hosted on 

"We needed something high profile and original to get New Yorkers attention and promote the destination," says agency president Virginia Sheridan.

Media and blogger relations and social media outreach drove awareness.

A professional street team, PR team members, and CVB president Nicki Grossman passed out cards with information about the trip giveaway and 10,000 branded ice scrapers. People were encouraged to pose for pictures behind the ice blocks (as you would with a cut-out photo prop).

CVB team members demonstrated a "Defrost Your Swimsuit" app that allows users to put their headshot onto a swimsuit ice block and "defrost" it to reveal their head on a beautiful, swimsuit-clad body on a Fort Lauderdale beach.

The beach mobile featured music, live models, sand, palm trees, beach balls, video, and a lifeguard stand. It was also used at a reception for meeting planners, travel agents, and media that evening and traveled to high-traffic areas throughout the city over the next three days. 

Targets included New York and national travel, lifestyle, and general consumer media; travel and marketing trades; and travel, family, and lifestyle bloggers.

The CVB's Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare properties were used to encourage event attendance and contest entry. Event photos were posted live, and some were sent to participants' hometown media.

The giveaway drew 9,825 entries. Mason notes entries were up about 40% over a similar 2011 giveaway. visits on January 24 were up 17.14% compared to the prior year. January traffic from social media sites was up 40% to 3,062, with 93% of visitors coming from Facebook.

Mason says the campaign drove a record jump in Facebook and Twitter audiences, garnering 2,116 new likes and 400 new followers January 24 to 31. 

Good Morning America and Good Day New York were among outlets that broadcast live from the event. More than 100 stories in total ran (500 million impressions). 

The team is promoting summer deals. "We're also looking at collaborations with music partners such as Sony and Live Nation for next year," Mason adds.