A visitor study that everyone fell in love with: “Virginia Is for Lovers” 

An SIR Case Study | Back to OUR WORK

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SIR Client: Virginia Tourism Corporation

Challenge: Like in many places, tourism is big business for Virginia. To identify new market segments and ramp up its marketing efforts in the 1960s, the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) turned to SIR — then a research arm of a prominent local ad agency. VTC realized that most visitors were relatively older and more affluent yet represented only a small segment of the total population. How could Virginia expand its reach?

Action: SIR conducted Virginia’s first visitor study. Everyone fell in love with the results. We discovered a much larger market segment for VTC: the mass of younger adults with more modest means. While their individual spending per vacation trip was less, the potential revenue in the aggregate was much larger. SIR research revealed that this younger cohort saw Virginia as frozen in time. We shared this insight with the project team, along with this research-inspired strategic mandate: Make Virginia more appealing, exciting, and sexier to younger adults. 

Results: The result was VTC’s development of a new ad campaign with the slogan “Virginia Is for Lovers.” Decades later, this is still the signature tagline for commonwealth’s tourism efforts and perhaps one of most memorable taglines in the history of destination marketing.

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