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Now This Is How to Market a Destination

I’m usually cynical about most travel marketing, which often emphasizes self-indulgence and cheap prices. Can’t it ever be uplifting, meaningful, and warm-hearted without being maudlin? Apparently, the answer is yes, it can. The new ad campaign for Colonial Williamsburg, the well-known historical restoration in Virginia, is all that and more. It just launched last week, and although I’ve seen only two of their commercials, if the rest of the campaign is up to that same quality level, it should win not only some awards, but some new visitors as well.

The spot I like the most is called  “Streets” (referring to the fact that you are walking the same streets where real people once lived hundreds of years ago). The “Streets” commercial (above) and another one, called “Doors,” encourage viewers to be “part of the story.” Corny? Not really.

In fact, when I took my family to Colonial Williamsburg a few years ago, I was fearful that I would be bored to tears. But after debating architecture with Thomas Jefferson (I lost), eating and quaffing in a Colonial-era alehouse, watching my kids march with the militia, and sleeping in a 300-year-old house, I felt it was one of the best vacations we've ever had. These videos capture that. Watch.

Mark Orwoll is Travel + Leisure's international editor.

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