Attracting the masses

Visit Bucks County wins two HSMAI Adrian Awards for its Photo Walks and video series

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

Local adventures: In the video Back Roads & Covered Bridges, which is part of the Bucks County is My Home series, viewers can enjoy a peek into the life of local resident Reid McCarthy. Source: Visit Bucks County

Over the past year, the creative juices at Visit Bucks County have practically been overflowing into the Delaware River. From its Photo Walk events to the riveting Bucks County is My Home YouTube series, VBC has been working diligently to put Bucks on the map as the next best tourist spot. So far, its efforts have been paying off.

The success of these two initiatives recently earned Visit Bucks County two Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Adrian Awards, as well as a Ragan PR Content Marketing Awards Honorable Mention for its innovative marketing strategies throughout 2017.

“We are honored to have our latest video series recognized for their innovative and engaging content. By utilizing locals and their stories, we were able to present the diverse communities of Bucks County on a more personal level, said Jerry Lepping, president/COO of Visit Bucks County. “Since the implementation of these videos, Visit Bucks County has seen a significant increase in traffic across our website and social media channels, driving locals and tourists alike to explore Bucks County.”

The HSMAI Adrian Awards recognize effective consumer engagement in advertising, digital marketing and public relations within the tourism and hospitality industry. Entries are eligible to win at the Gold, Silver and Bronze rankings across multiple categories, and winners are selected by a panel of industry leaders each year from a pool of nearly 1,200 entries.

Visit Bucks County was presented the high honor of a Gold Adrian Award in the “Advertising” category for its Photo Walk series, which invited locals and tourists alike to explore a town while taking photos and posting them to Instagram for a chance to win prizes. Photo Walks were hosted in Bristol, Doylestown, New Hope and Peddler’s Village, with another planned for this spring. The project resulted in an Instagram reach to more than 80,000 potential tourists.

The winning photos, which were chosen by a panel of professional photographers based on categories like “Best Photo of People,” captured the essence of Bucks County and the people and places that make it special. From a couple enjoying a romantic meal along the peaceful river, to a close-up shot of a home in New Hope detailing its exquisite architecture, each transports the viewer to a moment in time of everyday life in Bucks.

VBC also won a Bronze Adrian Award for “Digital Marketing” for its Bucks County is My Home video series, which utilizes locals’ stories as a means to share the narrative of Bucks County with potential visitors.

The series was produced by award-winning National Geographic photographer Bob Krist, and features short, three-minute films showcasing Bucks County natives exploring the area from their unique perspectives.

In the video “Back Roads & Covered Bridges,” which gained 2,532 views on YouTube, viewers can enjoy a peek into the life of local Reid McCarthy, whose pride and joy is his royal blue, antique sports car. After polishing her up, McCarthy hops into the front seat and takes us on a mini road trip to some of his favorite spots.

“For me, the backroads and covered bridges of Bucks County are a place apart, somewhere I can savor a little bit of peace and quiet,” he says.

Though the video is only three minutes, viewers are able to get a firm grasp of the tranquility found in Bucks County, as well as insight into its architectural history. McCarthy gives some background on the county’s covered bridges, a handful of which are within a 30-minute drive from his home.

“I’ve got my favorite routes, and many of them haven’t changed much in the past 100 years,” he says. “The drive along River Road along the Delaware is one of the prettiest in the state.”

The video concludes with McCarthy returning home after his peaceful drive. As he looks into the camera, he states, “I’m Reid McCarthy, and Bucks County is my home.”

The series includes three additional videos that similarly provide a snapshot into the lives of locals, including impressionist artist Daniel Anthonisen, who can usually be found by the river painting a winter landscape; polo player Juan Vidal, who takes viewers on a journey through Bucks County’s’ expansive open spaces; and pilot Bar Eisenhauer, who showcases his home from a unique point of view — the sky.

“Don’t get me wrong, Bucks County looks great at eye level,” Eisenhauer says from his biplane. “But if you want to appreciate its true beauty, you’ve got to see it the way the birds see it. From up on high.”

Visit Bucks County also received a Ragan PR Content Marketing Awards Honorable Mention for its compelling video content. Ragan PR honors the year’s most creative and effective content marketing campaigns, selecting from more than 130 submissions. In addition to the Bucks County is My Home series, VBC’s aerial and 360-degree footage shot by Paul Loftland helped secure a spot as one of this year’s finalists. Locations captured include the Mercer Museum, New Hope and Washington Crossing Historic Park.

For more information on Visit Bucks County, call 215–639–0300, visit VisitBucksCounty.com or stop by the Bucks County Visitor Center located at 3207 Street Road in Bensalem, adjacent to the entrance to Parx Casino. ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com