ST. PETERSBURG — The tourism agency Visit St. Pete/Clearwater has found a new way to market the Pinellas beaches: in grocery store refrigerators.
This winter, tourism officials will team up with Florida's Natural orange juice to put an ad touting the Pinellas beaches on the side of 12 million cartons of OJ.
"It's 12 million media impressions in every grocery store across the country," said D.T. Minich, the tourism agency's executive director.
That was just one of the 2014 tourism marketing campaigns that Visit St. Pete/Clearwater unveiled to a packed room during Wednesday evening's meeting at the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater near Carillon.
The orange juice cartons will be distributed through the winter, from January through April. One whole side will be dedicated to Pinellas, while the front will feature a teaser advertising a contest in which tourists can win a trip to Florida.
The agency also unveiled its theme for the coming summer/spring 2014 campaign: "Live Amplified." It will emphasize the "vibrancy" of the area, and not just the beaches.
Officials want to let tourists know there's more to do in Pinellas than just lie on the sand all day long — unless that's all they want to do, of course. The agency will be pushing experiences like cuisine and nightlife that can be tailored for older and younger demographics.
Next summer, the agency will also help sponsor a beach concert with an unnamed "major headliner." Officials also said that comedian Ellen DeGeneres will feature the beaches on her daytime show.
Pinellas County also will be trying to bring in Latin American tourists by taking advantage of Panamanian carrier Copa Airlines' new Tampa-to-Panama City route that starts flying four days a week Dec. 16. It will be Tampa Bay's first nonstop route to a Latin American hub.
And Pinellas will keep marketing to its traditional domestic strongholds in New York, Boston, Chicago and Orlando. A big part of that campaign will be Gulf to Bay magazine, a thick, glossy coffee tablelike publication produced with the Tampa Bay Times.
Pinellas distributed 275,000 this year. Next year, it plans to send out 525,000 copies.