June 14, 2018

VISIT PHILADELPHIA Launches Homesick Philly Initiative

Nostalgia Marketing Campaign Encourages People To Reconnect With & Rediscover Philadelphia

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Low-rise Colonial structures blend with soaring contemporary buildings to create a dynamic contrast and a distinct skyline in Philadelphia. Photo by B. Krist for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Here in Philly, cheesesteaks are a civic icon, a tourist draw and a cultural obsession. Pictured here is a provolone cheesesteak from Tony Luke's. Photo by J. Varney for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Thomas Schomberg’s interpretation of the triumphant boxer stands just north of the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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A massive renovation project has transformed Dilworth Park into one of Philadelphia’s hottest go-to public spaces. Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia
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The famous Philly soft pretzel can be purchased from street vendors, corner stores or bakery storefronts such as the Philly Soft Pretzel Factory. Photo by J. Varney for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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On game day, Philadelphia Eagles fans and tailgate enthusiasts unite in the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Financial Field for pregame fun. Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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Reading Terminal Market is a one-stop shop for everything from local produce and meats to artisanal cheeses and desserts. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The Philadelphia Phillies enjoy home field advantage at Citizen's Bank Park in South Philadelphia. Photo by M. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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The Philadelphia Museum of Art crowns the city’s culturally rich Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia
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The four-mile long Kelly Drive attracts bikers, runners, joggers and walkers to its trail and park, which runs along the Schuylkill River. Photo by R. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®
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VISIT PHILADELPHIA® today announced the official launch of Homesick Philly®, a $1.3 million nostalgia marketing initiative that draws former residents and students back to the region to reconnect with and rediscover the neighborhoods, food, arts, culture, history and sports they adored when they lived, worked or went to school here. The integrated program, running through 2018, uses advertising, social media, media relations, special events, a hotel package and a strong web presence to encourage people to visit and revisit Philadelphia over and over again.

“We hear so often how much people love and miss Philadelphia,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “That’s why we’ve formalized an initiative to reach them, to remind them of their strong Philly ties and to invite them to stay over in a hotel to reconnect with a city they have so much affection for.”

The Research:

All new VISIT PHILADELPHIA initiatives begin with research, and Homesick Philly is no exception. The team took a multipronged approach to gathering the data necessary to inform the marketing plan, using multiple online surveys, IRS and census information and in-person think tanks to get a greater sense of the nostalgia that surrounds Philadelphia. So what do people miss? The neighborhoods and walkability, the seasons, the authenticity and the arts and culture rated highest. Also coming up over and over again: love for the city’s iconic foods (cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, Tastykakes, Wawa hoagies, etc.) and sports teams. And what would entice them to come back? Festivals and special events, family or friend reunions and a great hotel package.

The Audience:

  • Philadelphia Residents: Particularly those who host friends and relatives
  • Former Residents: Those who loved living here, but moved away for work, school or other reasons
  • College Alumni: Those who have fond memories of their college experience here in Philly
  • Visitors: Those who have visited and just can’t get enough of the city
  • Media: Those who have visited often, those who haven’t visited in a long time and those who have yet to experience Philadelphia

The Marketing:

  • Advertising: For the eighth year running, VISIT PHILADELPHIA has taken over New York City’s Penn Station with 260 ads—many of which sport a Homesick Philly message, inviting people back to enjoy the food and sights they miss so much. Lines include: “Home is where the cheesesteak is” and “Even better than you remember.” Similar messages appear in Washington, DC this summer as well. On July 18, the company will begin running a paid post featuring the stories of three Philadelphia residents who chose to move back home on The New York Times’ The content is guaranteed to drive a minimum of 41,000 page views.
  • Visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com: The team will distribute existing and newly created content to the initiative’s target audience on Facebook and other digital platforms to remind them of the many reasons Philly is worth revisiting.
  • Social Media: The social media team will create themed geofilters for special events, work with influencers to extend the messaging and continue to surprise and delight homesick fans, sending them care packages of Philly favorites—cheesesteaks, Wawa iced tea, Tastykakes and more.
  • Media Relations: The media relations team is working to find real Philadelphia voices among the media and to give them tools for sharing their nostalgia for the region and their delight in how it’s grown. The team is developing content—press releases and imagery—that media can use to tell their Homesick Philly stories. First up: a Homesick Philly video that features three homesick Philadelphians reflecting on what they miss about the city. The video will be distributed through Visit Philly’s vast social media network.
  • Activations:
    • Homesick Philly Tour: Kicking off in Philadelphia on July 31 before heading to Baltimore, Washington, DC and Boston, the tour—a roving food truck—will encourage festival and eventgoers to reminisce about their time in Philly by enjoying the foods they miss (Tastykakes, soft pretzels, water ice) and other culinary creations from top Philadelphia chefs. Dates and locations to be determined.
    • iHeartMedia’s Broadway in Bryant Park: By sponsoring this popular event in Bryant Park on six consecutive Thursdays beginning on July 12, VISIT PHILADELPHIA will spread the Homesick message to 10,000 attendees each week. The sponsorship includes onsite branding, program ads, stage announcements, giveaways, a contest and an activation space that Mural Arts Philadelphia artist Felix St. Fort will use each week to paint a What You’ve Been Missing mural. The completed piece will be installed temporarily at Philadelphia’s Cherry Street Pier, opening in fall 2018. Nearly 400 on-air spots will run on New York City’s Lite FM to promote the six-week promotion.
  • Hotel Package: The fall version of the popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package will include perks that appeal to homesick Philadelphians. It will be available at 47 hotels beginning on September 4, 2018.
  • College Outreach: The VISIT PHILADELPHIA team is working with Temple University, Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania and other schools to ensure that Philadelphia is highly visible in alumni magazines, newsletters, eblasts and social media communications. Ads and editorial content will encourage former students to revisit their college hometowns.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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