With the summer tourism season in full swing, Virginia’s “LOVEworks” marketing campaign has traveled beyond the Commonwealth’s borders for the first time.
Last week, Fairfax County ventured up the I-95 corridor to give a sign to Philadelphia, launching an effort to draw the denizens of the City of Brotherly Love to the home of the first U.S. president, among other attractions.
Unveiled outside the Philadelphia Fashion District shopping mall on June 28, the new sign is the first one permanently gifted outside Virginia, according to Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism agency.
“On behalf of Fairfax County, we are so excited to welcome Philadelphians to our vibrant destination, and we hope this new campaign will inspire them to explore the many historical, cultural, natural and whimsical treasures found here,” Visit Fairfax President and CEO Barry Biggar said. “Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a lengthier family vacation to the National Capital Region, this campaign indeed highlights how easy it is to get to Northern Virginia and just how much this region has to offer.”
According to Visit Fairfax, Philadelphia already represents “major” source of tourism for the county based on visits, spending and website traffic.
However, the LOVE sign, which will be on display in Philly throughout the summer, is part of a new “multi-faceted, comprehensive and integrated” campaign that the agency has planned in conjunction with the statewide Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC).
Funded with money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the campaign will highlight connections between Virginia’s largest county and Pennsylvania’s largest city, Visit Fairfax says in a press release:
Campaign elements showcase the unique parallels between Fairfax County and Philadelphia and include digital display at Fashion District Philadelphia, traditional out of home, streaming audio and video, social media, and other in-market activations throughout the summer months. The campaign creative features iconic Fairfax County attractions that share a synergy with beloved Philly symbols, such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon paired with Independence Hall; Mason Neck Wildlife Refuge as the first to protect bald eagles paired with Philadelphia’s favorite football team; and Macerich-owned Tysons Corner Center, paired with its sister property, Fashion District Philadelphia; among others.
Visit Fairfax notes that the sign “complements” Philadelphia’s long-standing “LOVE” sculpture by artist Robert Indiana. The two installations are located less than a mile apart.
“We are definitely feeling the ‘love’ here at Fashion District Philadelphia,” Fashion District Philadelphia Property Manager Ryan Williams said. “…Northern Virginia is a wonderful visitor destination with so much to offer Philadelphians — the good feelings between our two East Coast regions are certainly mutual!”
The LOVEworks signs stem from the “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan adopted by the VTC — then called the Virginia State Travel Service — in 1969. The ad campaign attempted to appeal to younger generations in the hippie and free love era, according to the VTC’s website.
“These signs are very popular with travelers coming to Virginia and are often the backdrop of visitors’ engagement photos, weddings, or other special occasions,” VTC Director of Communications Andrew Cothern said. “We hope residents of Philadelphia will see the LOVEwork in Fashion District and be inspired to plan a vacation in Virginia.”
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