Editors' Note: Guest blogger Bruce Yelk is the Director of Public Relations for Visit Philadelphia.
Ten years ago this week, Philadelphia launched its award winning "Philadelphia - Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay" marketing campaign. The original two ads featured Ben Franklin flying a rainbow kite and Betsy Ross sewing a rainbow flag. (Shown at the end of the post.)
Shortly after the campaign's launch, Philadelphia released the 1st TV commercial by a U.S. destination geared toward the LGBT traveler. The spot called "Pen Pals", got the attention of journalist across the globe and even crossed into pop-culture with segments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Hollywood Squares and VH1's "Best Week Ever."
In 2004, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) honored the campaign with several Adrian Awards in advertising and public relations. Then in 2006, the Travel Industry of America (TIA) honored the campaign with its prestigious Platinum Odyssey Award - the highest honor in the U.S. travel industry.
The campaign evolved in 2007 from historical Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross to contemporary Philadelphians in ads entitled "We Your People..." Then again in 2010, the campaign moved in alignment with Philadelphia's mainstream "With Love" letter writing campaign. However, each letter was tailor made to specifically address the LGBT traveler by focusing on Philadelphia LGBT events or attractions that may have a special appeal to the segment.