Florida beach town writes Amazon TV series to lure tourists

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Recall that longing you felt immediately after an episode of “Sex and the City” to shop at the characters’ favored New York haunts and consume cosmopolitans at the same bars? Or that perception of wanderlust for the seaside cliffs of Eire immediately after seeing “Game of Thrones?”

Hollywood’s flattering spotlight has place smaller cities on the map, like Wilmington, North Carolina, from “Dawson’s Creek” and the woods of Senoia, Ga, from “The Going for walks Dead.” And that is specifically what vacation entrepreneurs in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida, have been hoping to capitalize on when they commissioned an primary, scripted Television sequence, seeking to draw quarantine-weary visitors to the area’s sugar sand seashores.

“Life’s Rewards” aired on Amazon Key very last month. The 8-episode demonstrate is based on a charming still cavalier wealth supervisor who loses his revenue and uses journey rewards points to continue to be at the posh, pink Don CeSar hotel when rebuilding his everyday living.


Just about every episode is only 8 to 14 minutes extensive, and was filmed making use of a regional manufacturing company, director and actors. The sequence charge around a million dollars to produce, with contributions from the metropolis and the state’s tourism arm.

Some of the “ad” places woven through the dialogue are clear, like the random episode about the Tampa Bay Look at Discovery Heart. But the people immediately pivot back to plot-forwarding dialogue. It is a rapid-hit advert versus the sustained 15- to 30-second really hard sell of conventional commercials.

At other situations, the options feel purely natural, like the gay nightclub Blur or a tour of the vibrant WhimzeyLand “bowling ball house” in an episode that includes a scavenger hunt. Even the numerous gratuitous beach front photographs mostly feel plausible.

“I’m watching anything and I’m drawn into the present mainly because of the tale line, but also the places I’m observing in front of me,” explained Steve Hayes, president of Check out St. Pete Clearwater, who noted that he and his wife routinely talked about viewing Wyoming although observing their preferred show, “Yellowstone.”


Although often awkward, the people in “Life’s Rewards” refer to just about every place in the scene by identify. There were no faux dive bars or coffee outlets.

“You commence to establish, ‘Hey, this seems to be like a really interesting position I want to go to,’ and it is in the background,” mentioned Hayes. “It’s not in the front exactly where you want to go by means of and hit the speedy-ahead button.”

It is also shortly to gauge no matter whether the sequence has impacted tourism, or even how commonly it was considered.

The hospitality sector was hit tricky by the pandemic, and tourist towns are keen to seize on the new willingness to travel. That is put more tension on places to sector exterior the box.

“Every single destination in the environment is now hunting for that tourism growth. I consider it’s additional crucial than it ever has been,” explained Alexandra Delf, govt vice president for London-dependent Grifco, a vacation advertising organization.

Movie- and Tv-encouraged journey is so well-liked that the firm is utilizing pandemic binge exhibits to endorse its biggest consumers. Advertising adverts take note that scenes from Netflix’s “Bridgerton” have been filmed near The Gainsborough Tub Spa. “Game of Thrones” packages at Slieve Donard Vacation resort and Spa tout excursions exactly where notable scenes had been filmed close by, including Robb Stark’s struggle camp and “Red Wedding.”


With travel halted for the duration of the pandemic, scenic destinations felt even more aspirational.

“A large amount of what we do in travel internet marketing is providing that aspiration of rest,” stated Delf. “It provides them anything to glance forward to.”

The manufacturing corporation guiding the Florida demonstrate explained scripted reveals are a new genre for journey advertising, and that they are now in talks to shoot some for other towns in the point out.

“We really do not want men and women to really feel promoted to. We want them to sense shed in the tale line and get invested in the figures like any other demonstrate on streaming or Tv set, but we’re giving a good context for our place,” reported Brianne Maciejowski, director of film and online video for Odyssey Studios.

People retain considerably additional from branded content in contrast to conventional promotion, she explained. The Florida Tv set sequence finished with a cliffhanger, so a sequel is nonetheless probable.

“Part of our business model is to assistance places discover a voice in this amusement-to start with globe,” said Maciejowski. “There’s a large amount a lot more in our long term.”

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