The images of cascading waterfalls and contented families plucking wildflowers seem to have worked. Research found that the Colorado Tourism Office's $4.5 million "Come to Life" television and print ad campaign, which ran in target markets in April, May and August, stirred $898 million in spending in the state. That doubles the return on investment from previous ad campaigns.
"Any campaign is a combination of ad creative and in-market execution, and the combination really paid off big time for us," said Al White, director of the state's tourism office. "It was really dramatic to see what happened."
The Strategic Marketing and Research group surveyed Colorado vacationers who had seen the ads, which aired heavily in Phoenix, Dallas and Chicago. The group asked whether the ads had persuaded a visit to Colorado, and if so, how much money did the vacationers spend.
Total incremental spending from people who saw the campaign and visited Colorado was $898 million, or $200 in private-sector spending for every tax dollar spent on the campaign. The state, counties, cities and local taxing districts took about 8 percent of that, or $72 million. That's about $16 in taxes harvested for every tax dollar spent, White said, with the state getting about $6 of that.
"It was a remarkable return," said White, noting that the return was double the last ad campaign.
Total visitation numbers won't be available until spring. In June, Longwoods International research showed that 57.9 million people visited Colorado in 2011, fueling a record $10.76 billion in visitor spending.
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