New TV Ads Aim to Lure Younger Set:
Visitors Bureau Spots Tout Scottsdale's Many Offerings

September 17, 2005 | By Peter Corbett

Scottsdale’s tourism bureau is hoping to turn last winter’s rains into a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau took advantage of the wet weather and the resulting desert in full bloom to shoot footage for TV advertising spots that it hopes will lure a new generation of visitors.

The ads were unveiled Friday during the bureau’s annual meeting at the Phoenician resort.

The 30-second commercials, which focus on contrasting aspects of what Scottsdale offers visitors, are aimed at a slightly younger target audience from 35 to 54 years old, instead of 40 to 65, said Laura McMurchie, bureau vice president of communication.

The current median age of visitors is 51 years old.

Focus-group research in Los Angeles showed that younger visitors there were familiar with Scottsdale nightclubs and had taken three-day-weekend trips here, McMurchie said.

Neil Howe, a consultant who presented a program on the next generation of tourists for Scottsdale, said that Generation X visitors, ages 24 to 44 years old, like thriving downtowns like those associated with Denver, Austin and Santa Barbara, Calif.

“You’ve got to amp up the entertainment for this generation,” Howe said.

Scottsdale’s downtown nightlife and gallery district has blossomed in the new millennium and is poised for a huge upswing with a pair of hip, urban hotels under construction and thousands of new condominiums rising on the skyline.

That includes the Hotel Valley Ho, a major renovation and expansion of one of Scottsdale’s oldest hotels, and the W hotel. Valley Ho is scheduled to open in December and the W will welcome its first guests by the end of next year.

To help fill those new rooms and the existing 12,500 rooms in the Scottsdale area, the tourism bureau will launch its TV spots in Chicago.

The new ads, created by the Rister-Robb agency, show the different ways people can rejuvenate themselves in Scottsdale. They show a rock climber in contrast to a couple at a spa and golfers juxtaposed with gallery visitors.

Another spot shows tourists on a jeep tour venturing into the desert and a bikini-wearing sunbather “who might venture into the deep end (of the pool) by day’s end.”

The tagline on all of the spots is: “Scottsdale—Bring your passion for life.”

That message was created as part of a print advertising campaign that started last year.

Brent DeRaad, bureau vice president of marketing, said the aim is to promote Scottsdale’s resorts and spas, golf and culture along with the traditional focus on the Sonoran desert and the weather.

The bureau has also redesigned its Web site, which is an important tool in reaching younger visitors, DeRaad said.

Tourism is one of Scottsdale’s leading industries. Last year, the city hosted about 7.4 million visitors and the economic impact of tourism is estimated at $2.4 billion annually, according to the city’s Economic Vitality Department.

The non-profit tourism bureau receives $5.3 million from Scottsdale and nearly $2 million from the state, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills and the adjacent Indian communities—Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community—to promote visitation to the Scottsdale area.

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