Campaign: “Virginia Is for Lovers”
Brand: Virginia Tourism Corporation
Agency: The Martin Agency
Update an iconic brand positioning to respond to a real, relevant cultural event
Virginia is for everyone.
In the wake of a tragic display of hatred and domestic terrorism, the state of Virginia needed to not only rebuke the actions in Charlottesville, but also reinforce the underlying values that Virginians hold dear. Their state has always been for lovers, and in the wake of Charlottesville, it was critical to reinforce the message of inclusion and diversity.
What The Martin Agency told Fast Company:
“We know that Charlottesville and the state of Virginia are places we know and love, and we know they’re diverse, inclusive and welcoming,” says The Martin Agency CEO Matt Williams. “We also know the violence we saw last weekend isn’t what that city or the state is about. ‘Virginia is for lovers’ has always been true, and it’s never been a more relevant message to send.”
Lessons to be learned:
- Simple rallying cries — The message The Martin Agency developed was simple and memorable: a rallying cry for Virginians to internalize and project as they move forward. As folks continue to process the events in Charlottesville, the simplicity of “Virginia is for everyone” lends focus and clarity to an immensely complicated issue.
- Agility — The Martin Agency acted within hours of the events in Charlottesville, at first putting a sign in front of its offices in Richmond, which was picked up by the Virginia Tourism Corporation on Instagram to begin promoting positivity across the state as quickly as possible. #StandForLove has garnered more than 11,000 tags on Instagram since The Martin Agency installed the sign outside its offices.
- Creating value — In this particular example, the agency acted independently to create value. There was no brief from the client or kickoff call; it simply saw an opportunity to make an impact and executed. The work was eventually picked up by the Virginia Tourism Corporation, but The Martin Agency’s work created value even before if became a branded message, demonstrating how agencies still can and should lead with creativity.