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Virginia is for Lovers is the tourism and travel slogan of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Used since 1969, it has become a well recognized and often imitated part of American jargon. In 2012, Advertising Age called Virginia is for Lovers "one of the most iconic ad campaigns in the past 50 years."
A team led by David N. Martin and George Woltz of Martin and Woltz Inc. of Richmond, Virginia created the slogan after winning the Virginia State Travel account in 1968. Originally, they had come up with history ads, "Virginia is for History Lovers"; beach ads, "Virginia is for Beach Lovers"; and mountain ads, "Virginia is for Mountain Lovers". This approach was eventually discarded as too limiting, and the qualifiers were dropped. "Virginia is for Lovers" was born. Martin and Woltz Inc. eventually gained prominence and grew to become The Martin Agency. The first ad campaign using the tagline "Virginia is for Lovers" was launched in 1969. The slogan was released with fanfare to all who wanted to use it to promote the state of Virginia. More recently, the Virginia Tourism Corp has dubiously trademarked the slogan, but the Commonwealth of Virginia effectively gave away its intellectual rights in 1969 when it released the slogan to the public.
The first year that the slogan was introduced, travelers spent $800 million in Virginia. By 2004, that number had increased to more than $14 billion, making Virginia the tenth most popular tourist destination of the fifty states.
American Idol winner Jordin Sparks recorded a song called "Virginia is for Lovers" in 2007, which was featured as a bonus track on her eponymous debut album. The slogan is referenced in The Hold Steady song "Killer Parties."
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