Sometimes the weather cooperates a little too well.
A double-city tourism promotion meant to help commuters in Boston and Chicago thaw out with warm “Hello Sunny”-branded bus shelters and live satellite feeds from Fort Lauderdale had to be scaled back Tuesday due to the snowstorm that menaced the Northeast.
“In Boston, it went a little overboard,” said Nicki Grossman, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, which was behind the campaign. “The ideal weather condition is miserable enough they they want to pack their bags and get out of wherever they’re living, but good enough that they can get to the airport and fly.”
The tourism bureau was still able to hold its interactive brag session with residents of Chicago, where the temperature was in the low 30s. Swimsuit-clad models were on hand to pass out sunglasses and ice scrapers (whatever those are). And in a first for Broward, a digital monitor showed live images of Fort Lauderdale beach and allowed virtual mingling with destination boosters and some locals.
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“We’ve had seagulls cooperating with a fly-by, we’ve had beach volleyball games going on,” Grossman said. With a goal of reaching 15 million visitors this year, she said the bureau is working to drum up as much business as possible.
“It’s an invitation, it’s a lure for people to say: ‘You know what, enough winter,’” Grossman said. “You’ve got six more weeks, the groundhog said so. This is a great time to trade your winter boots for flip flops.”
The Boston campaign was rescheduled to Feb. 20 after snowstorms wreaked havoc on the city’s transportation system.
This is the time of year when South Florida destinations get creative — and maybe a bit boastful — in their marketing efforts.
“We woke up this morning to a gorgeous sunny day,” Grossman said. “We’ll just beat the next storm to Boston. I feel bad for those people.”
Last week, the Monroe County Tourist Development Council brought a giant Key lime pie measuring eight feet in diameter to Boston’s South Station as part of a larger advertising blitz to promote the Florida Keys.
In a sign of how brutal this winter has been, weather threatened that stunt as well, putting “the entire pie project in jeopardy,” according to the TDC.
While slices were ultimately served, the scope of the effort took a hit: Because delivery of the planned nine-foot pie pan was delayed due to weather, chefs had to swap in a smaller version.