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Case Study

Thinking Outside the Box

Punta Gorda / Englewood Beach, Florida

Beach Family

Branding: It’s What’s on the Outside That Matters

In the fall of 2013, Aqua won a highly contested RFP to become the creative agency of record for the Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf Islands Visitor & Convention Bureau. In February of 2016, Aqua was tasked with evaluating the county’s tourism brand and making subsequent recommendations.

What followed was an extensive period of discovery (consisting of an inventory of the destination’s various visitor activities and attributes), a study of the competing destinations and how they positioned themselves in the marketplace, in-depth primary research of potential visitors involving focus groups in different markets (Tampa, Chicago, and Indianapolis), and more.

Punta Gorda hiking, kayaking and logos

The main takeaway from all our research was that the area offered the state’s most robust set of outside experiences, and potential visitors liked the area’s pristine beaches and unique, natural environment. Therefore, it was decided that the new brand must include an emphasis on outside activities and settings. The new brand and its tagline, “Our Best Side is Outside” was launched in the fall of 2016. Additionally, it was also determined the destination name needed to change, becoming Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach and the bureau renamed to the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB).

Punta Gorda Print Ads

Getting Outside the Typical Campaigns

For the 2018-2019 FY, the destination needed new annual campaign. Obviously, based on everything we had done to brand the destination in 2016, we recommended focusing the new campaign on the area’s offering of outside activities. However, in our research for other clients, and by following developing trends in the tourism marketing sector, we’ve recognized travelers are seeking a unique vacation experience that validates their own belief that they themselves are unique, one-of-a-kind people who therefore would take a vacation that’s different from everyone else. Wanting to still promote the area’s outside activities and landscapes, especially the beach, and communicate to travelers this is the off-the-beaten-path vacation destination unique and different people are seeking, we created the now award-winning campaign, Outsiders Welcome.

But, how would we communicate this Outsiders Welcome message? Wanting to define what Outsiders are – people who enjoy being outside, doing things their own way, and are looking for something different – we decided our campaign materials, heavily revolving around online video, needed to feature people who represented Outsiders. While we initially thought to hire talent, we later decided to feature area locals who already embodied the Outsider mentality. This added a much-needed sense of authenticity to our campaign, and turned locals into destination ambassadors. They were business owners, outdoor enthusiasts, a little quirky, and most were literally born and raised outside the destination, but fell in love with the area when they visited. Six Outsiders were selected for round one of the campaign, and six one-minute videos were produced featuring one of the Outsiders talking about a specific outside activities such as paddleboarding or going to the beach. Two thirty-second videos were created for pre-roll and ad placement purposes, and a dedicated campaign webpage,, hosted all the videos as well as blogs written by the Outsiders.

Campaign Results

16 million
The Outsiders Welcome Campaign generated over 16 million impressions and over 100,000 clicks.
Page Views
Campaign advertising generated more than 86,712 page views.
New Users
More than 61,000 new users visited the site since the campaign launched, accounting for approximately 55% of all new users on the site from June to September 30, 2019.
User Increase
Compared to the 2018 summer timeframe, users on the site were up 17.7%, while new users were up 22.2% for summer 2019. *Ads on hold 10 days due to Dorian 8/31 – 9/9.
7.4 Million
Tracked Impressions
Per Arrivalist data, the campaign generated a very conservative estimate of 159 arrivals out of the more than 7.4 million tracked impressions. (Using multiplier, 529 arrivals).
Tourist Development Tax Increase
Tourist Development Tax increased 4.62% YTD over the 2017-2018 fiscal year (Per August Collections Report).
Hotel Occupancy Increase
8.23% increase in hotel occupancy for July compared to 2018 (STR).
25% Increase
In Vacation Rentals
25% increase in gross revenue for vacation rentals June – Aug compared to 2018 (ATR).
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