Orlando’s wealth of things to do and see make it an “Unbelievably Real” destination for tourists and businesses, according to a $28.5 million marketing campaign launched Monday by Visit Orlando and the Orlando Economic Partnership.
The new slogan emerged after about a year of collaboration among the tourist association and economic growth groups to sell Orlando to wider audiences. Marketing agency Razorfish led its development.
“In a lot of our audiences, there’s a lot of similarities,” Visit Orlando President and CEO Casandra Matej said. “We have the responsibility of bringing in conventions and meetings, and a lot of those attendees are also people that the [partnership] talks to. So it seemed like it would be a really good effort for us to collaborate on.”
“Unbelievably Real” will help connect locals, visitors, businesses based in Orlando and businesses looking to come to Orlando, said CEO Tim Giuliani of the partnership. Its business initiatives will be promoted on InvestOrlando.org.
Work on the project started in 2019, paused amid the pandemic and restarted late last year with a total production cost of around $3.5 million, Matej said. The groups will invest nearly $25 million in worldwide marketing and advertising through 2022.
Visit Orlando is largely funded by Orange County’s tourism tax on hotels and other lodgings.
“Unbelievably Real” follows the Orlando Economic Partnership’s earlier branding campaign, called “Orlando. You don’t know the half of it.,” to promote Orlando’s non-theme-park offerings to businesses seeking to relocate or expand.
“When we combine forces and invest in economic and community development and market Orlando as a destination for tourism, business and meetings, we can strengthen our brand identity and take the region to the next level,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said during an event announcing the brand.
On Monday, Visit Orlando debuted the “Unbelievably Real” ad campaign with TV commercials, online ads and billboards with the slogan in target domestic markets, such as New York, Boston and Chicago.
International branding will start in early June at the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW conference in Orlando and develop throughout the year, and a business-focused campaign will kick off at IMEX America’s meeting industry show in Las Vegas in October, Matej said.
The “Unbelievably Real” brand also focuses on art and local creativity.
Part of its advertising features an in-progress mural in Brooklyn, New York, painted by Orlando artist Clark Orr that features local landmarks along with the slogan. It will be on display through July, and a similar mural is planned for Orlando, Matej said.
The brand’s O.U.R. Culture Project, short for the “Orlando Unbelievably Real Culture Project,” is a multi-year program that will seek out local ideas for a symbol to represent Orlando and install a sign with the city’s name at a yet-announced location for photo opportunities.
Visit Orlando and Orlando Economic Partnership are also holding a photo contest for locals through May 31.
“Orlando has a lot of momentum,” Giuliani said. “The tourism numbers are coming in really high, our convention center was open early and is exceeding expectations, and from a business side, we had one of our best years ever this past year. We’re working 35% more projects than we were before the pandemic, so … [we’re] moving things forward in this window of opportunity that we have.”
[email protected] and @katievrice on Twitter