Virginia is for Lovers, launched in 1969, is one of the most beloved and enduring tourism slogans in the country. 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of Virginia is for Lovers and is a perfect time to take a closer look at the true meaning behind it all. At its core, Virginia is for Lovers represents a love of life and a passion for travel. Here’s how the story began.
The timing was right in 1969 when the Virginia State Travel Service (now the Virginia Tourism Corporation) adopted what would become its world-renowned "Virginia is for Lovers" slogan.
Given the tenor of the times, the roll-out of Virginia is for Lovers appealed to younger consumers who were the market of the future. Virginia is for Lovers debuted simultaneously with love-ins, Erich Segal’s popular book Love Story, peace demonstrations and of course – Woodstock. The first ad featuring the slogan ran in Bride’s Magazine in 1969 and a new image for Virginia was launched.
The idea came from a creative team headed by George Woltz of Martin & Woltz Inc., a Richmond-based advertising agency. According to Martin, a $100-a-week copywriter named Robin McLaughlin came up with an advertising concept that read, "Virginia is for history lovers." For a beach-oriented ad, the headline would have read, "Virginia is for beach lovers," for a mountains ad, "Virginia is for mountain lovers," and so on. Martin thought the approach might be too limiting. Woltz agreed, and the agency dropped the modifier and made it simply "Virginia is for Lovers." The idea was that whatever people love most in a vacation, whatever they are most passionate about, Virginia was the ideal destination
Virginia is for Lovers was considered bold and provocative, but it was also just plain smart from a marketing perspective. It planted a seed - a new image of a more exciting Virginia.
Today Virginia is for Lovers continues to be the official state travel slogan. It is amplified by the state’s Live Passionately marketing campaign. Live Passionately was created by BCF, Virginia Tourism Corporation’s agency of record, to make Virginia is for Lovers more relevant for today’s travelers. Live Passionately strengthens the connection between the slogan and Virginia’s appeal a rewarding and enriching destination where travelers live out their passions for history, heritage, music, wine and all the things that make life meaningful.
The campaign is designed to appeal to baby boomers’ sense of adventure, the same generation for whom Virginia is for Lovers was created in 1969. Virginia is for Lovers is an iconic symbol in American culture and continues to represent a love of life and a passion for travel for Virginians and millions of visitors from around the world.