The Maine Office of Tourism might be onto something this year as it markets the state to potential tourists from out of state: Maine’s originality. An ad campaign promoting the state to prospective visitors from along the Eastern Seaboard touts “The Maine Thing.”
“The Maine Thing is: Authentic Rides. Be Inspired. Be Adventurous. Be Yourself,” boasts an online video on the Maine Office of Tourism website that flashes compelling images of snowmobilers, mountain bikers, white-water rafters, rock climbers, kayakers and more.
“The Maine Thing is: Being fertile ground for creativity and delicious veggies,” claims another ad from the marketing campaign that promotes the state’s culinary assets.
An ad on the back page of this past Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine, however, might have sent the wrong message.
“The Maine Thing is: Discovering something about you’re nature while you’re standing in it.”
You read right. A major ad campaign marketing Maine to first-time visitors from the mid-Atlantic region at the height of the tourism season misspelled “your.” And you read right, it appeared on the back page of the Sunday magazine for one of the nation’s most prominent publications — prime, and expensive, advertising real estate.
Maine’s tourism office appears to be on the right track with the message conveyed in this year’s marketing materials and with the goals underlying the strategy. Maine wants to build on 2012, a successful year for Maine tourism, and increase overnight stays this year by 2 percent, boost overall tourism-related trips by 3 percent and grow the percentage of first-time, overnight visitors to nearly 17 percent.
But in touting its unique assets, Maine doesn’t want to send the message that one of those assets is an inability to spell.
Now, we’re not claiming perfection by any means. We’re well aware the Bangor Daily News is guilty of copy editing misdeeds more often than we’d like to think.
But the marketing campaign on which Maine is staking its hopes for growing a key sector of our state’s economy needs to promote our state’s assets and not distract from that message.
And the state’s marketers really do know the difference between “your” and “you’re.” A fishing-themed ad in the marketing campaign advertises “The Maine Thing” as “Not needing a GPS to know you’re in exactly the right place.” And an ad showcasing the Maine coast says “The Maine Thing” is “Meeting the waves and knowing it’s your only appointment.”
The Maine Office of Tourism spends about $9 million annually promoting Maine tourism, an industry that’s pegged at about $7 billion and supports nearly 90,000 — or about 13 percent — of the state’s jobs. Its strategy this year is to market Maine to repeat visitors from New England and appeal to first-time Maine tourists from the mid-Atlantic and Canada.
Let’s hope this is a one-time flub. Maine can’t afford more distractions as it tries to dig itself out of its economic rut.