The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau launches a new global marketing and advertising campaign on January 9th, featuring three transgender models. By doing that, Fort Lauderdale becomes the world’s first destination to use transgender models in mainstream destination advertising. Greater Fort Lauderdale’s campaign, which also features straight, gay and lesbian models, follows the destination’s long and storied history in LGBTQ marketing and is directed at a largely millennial and younger mind-set audience to showcase the destination’s image as an authentic, diverse and inclusive brand.
The new advertisements, covering a full-spectrum of destination lifestyle experiences, will appear in print, digital, television, radio and social media throughout South Florida, New York, Boston, Chicago, and in national outlets such as New York Times’ T Magazine, USA Today Travel Magazine, Passport, ManAboutWorld as well as on Spotify, Pandora, Hulu and in the destination’s collateral, website and e-blasts.
The campaign had an early premiere in New York City on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017 with a Times Square billboard video featuring Isabella Santiago, a Venezuelan model and 2014 Miss World Transgender. Viewed by millions, the video formed the backdrop to New York City’s famous New Year’s Eve ball drop. Campaign imagery was shot throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County, capturing a “beach and beyond” showcase of some of the destination’s most popular areas, including Fort Lauderdale Beach, Hallandale Beach, Deerfield Beach and Wilton Manors.
“Using Trans models in our mainstream campaign says who we are as a destination; cosmopolitan, edgy, diverse, inclusive, authentic and accepting,” says Richard Gray, Managing Director LGBTQ Market, Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are the only destination in the world that is using Trans people in mainstream marketing initiatives. That is a huge statement in itself highlighting this destination’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality. We want all travelers to GFL to be free to be themselves, to be free to be accepted, and most of all to be safe and respected.”
“I’m proud that we continue to be a leader in marketing innovation,” said Stacy Ritter, President/CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’ve established a popular and highly recognized destination brand presence that reflects the authentic experiences that people today, regardless of age, gender, religion or race, seek when they travel.”
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has been proactively targeting and welcoming the LGBTQ market since 1996, when it became the first Convention & Visitors Bureau with a gay-centric vacation planner, and dedicated website on a CVB homepage in the US. Since then, the destination has continued to break down barriers and facilitate essential visibility for the LGBTQ community at large. The destination now welcomes 1.5 million LGBT travelers annually, spending ~$1.5 billion. This past fall Greater Fort Lauderdale was selected as the site of the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference, the largest Trans conference in North America, which had taken place since its founding more than two decades ago in Atlanta.