The media is really milking this for all its worth.
Victoria's secrets bared
City's new ads shed its sedate image, beckon tourists with lascivious grin
Special to The Globe and Mail
VICTORIA -- Victoria is sexing up its prim and proper image with provocative ads targeted at tourists who crave the sweet things in life.
Tarted up with lascivious double entendres, the Tourism Victoria ads lust after American, Albertan and Vancouver visitors. One, which reads "Time to Experience that [url=http://www.anyvitamins.com/treatment-tingling.htm:a80e7]Tingling Sensation[/url:a80e7]," is directly aimed at gay and lesbian travellers.
Two other ad headlines read: "Your Search for the Perfect Orgasm is Over" and "Meet Victoria. Beautiful, Talented and Dead Sexy."
The first is aimed at culinary tourists seeking the ultimate oral experiences to be found in Victoria's varied and top-notch eateries. The second is for outdoor adventurers who like to mix power shopping with a spa sojourn.
Because the sedate and iconic images of high tea and horse-drawn carriage rides have been trotted out long enough, Tourism Victoria's board and marketing commission has swung to "guerrilla marketing" for 2007.
"We want to catch someone's attention," said Melissa McLean, Tourism Victoria's vice-president of marketing.
"If you can't do that, you've basically lost the day."
The initial five ads, created by Victoria-based Trapeze Communications, have created a "swirl of controversy," Ms. McLean said.
"They challenge those who think they know Victoria," she said.
With more to come, the ads continue a strategy started last March to rebrand Victoria as a place where old-world traditions meet new-world experiences.
The "orgasm" ad ran in Northwest Palate magazine, based in Portland, Ore., and will also appear in the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival program in March.
Northwest Palate editor Angie Jabine was surprised that the ad, geared to gastronomes, was causing a stir.
The magazine hasn't received a single call, e-mail or letter about the ad, which appeared in the January-February issue.
Northwest Palate's very loyal readers, most older than 40, well-educated and well-travelled, would let Ms. Jabine know if the ad was unpalatable.
There was in-house debate, however, about where the ad would be placed. It ran on page 40 of the 64-page magazine, in a less-than-prominent spot.
Brock Smith, a University of Victoria marketing and entrepreneurship professor, likes the five ads because they speak directly to gay, romantic-getaway and good-food clientele.
"It's easy to say on first blush that they are not appropriate, but they are appropriate in context," Prof. Smith said. More than 80 per cent of Victoria's tourists are repeat visitors who have experienced the tea-and-crumpet and Inner Harbour circuit several times.
These ads -- touting the "new Provence," gallery tours and whale-watching -- are telling readers that there is more to the city than meets the eye, Prof. Smith said.
They will be highly effective if they reach the intended audience, he said. The 900-member association of predominantly Victoria-area businesses has a 2007 budget of $4.3-million, with $3-million dedicated to marketing and advertising costs.
__________________ "Beaver, ahoy!"
"The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009