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Cornerstone unveils Super Bowl marketing plan

The Chamber of Commerce's economic development arm unveiled a three-part direct mail campaign to educate media and businesses about Northeast Florida before the Super Bowl in February. Officials with Cornerstone, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce's economic development initiative, said the campaign is the most extensive marketing plan ever undertaken by a Super Bowl host city.

"We want to maximize the effect this major event will have on Jacksonville," said John Schmitt, chairman of Cornerstone. "While general awareness of Jacksonville has grown considerably in recent years, research has shown us that national and international media have little specific knowledge of our region. We plan to leverage the opportunity to host our first Super Bowl in the greatest way possible."

The campaign consists of three different mailers. The campaign will reach 225 media contacts, 300 top businesses and 10,000 general business, convention and tourism contacts.

The first phase, launched last week, consists of seven postcards -- one mailed about every three weeks throughout the NFL season -- targeting media, site consultants, business relocation and expansion professionals, and convention and tourism planners around the country.

The second phase is a set of four three-dimensional mailers that will be sent to Cornerstone's 300 top business targets once a month leading up to and following Super Bowl.

The third phase targets national and international media and includes a pen that comes with a hard drive in the cap containing information about Jacksonville, including a full media kit, area background materials, photos and story ideas.

The Super Bowl direct mail campaign was designed by Jacksonville-based St. John & Partners Advertising & Public Relations

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Chamber uses game to market city

Jacksonville group plans mailings to national businesses, news media.


The Times-Union

The Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce's economic development arm is launching a large-scale direct-mail campaign to capitalize on economic development opportunities sparked by February's Super Bowl.

The three-pronged mail campaign by Cornerstone will bombard national businesses and the media with features about Northeast Florida.

"Frankly, having participated in the planning process by going to some other Super Bowls, we kept getting the question, 'can Jacksonville really handle this?'" said Jerry Mallot, executive director of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce's Cornerstone program. "Almost saying the Super Bowl in Jacksonville could be a negative rather than a positive because they didn't know us at all."

"We thought if some people feel that way, a lot of other people might. We wanted to take a very offensive approach to hosting the Super Bowl and using it as the best tool we could ever have to market our city."

During the first phase of the campaign Cornerstone will send out about 10,000 postcards, which will include mailings to 225 top-tier media and 300 top businesses. There will be seven mailings in all every three weeks throughout the National Football League season.

"I have never seen a campaign of this scale," said Heather Surface, spokeswoman for the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee.

One postcard shows a man in a football jersey squeegeeing his big-screen TV while an NFL football game is on. The bottom of the postcard reads: "There are less than 126 days until the Super Bowl comes to Jacksonville. What are you doing to get ready?"

The back lists some of the ways Jacksonville and the region are preparing for the Super Bowl and its lasting effects.

The cost of the mailing campaign is about $250,000, said Cathy Chambers, spokeswoman for the chamber. The money comes from the chamber's marketing budget, which is supported largely by city money.

"We felt like we wanted repetition in our communication with companies," Mallot said. "And we wanted them [businesses] to continue to get something from Jacksonville that gets them thinking 'That's an aggressive city.' We thought we could get high volume at low cost and a relentless pursuit of potential clients."

Part two of the campaign will feature three mailers that focus on game-day essentials sent to Cornerstone's 300 top business targets. Those items are sunglasses, golf shirts and binoculars. A fourth mailer, a passport containing special offers in Northeast Florida, will be sent after the game.

"The gift is aimed at sending a message," Mallot said. "The message for the sunglasses is that we have the weather and climate that is very exciting. And so you're sending the message that we have a great environment and high quality of life. The same is true for the others."

The third part of the campaign will focus on the top-tier and international media. A pen will be sent to journalists along with a full media kit, area background, story ideas and photos.

"The media will have more influence on what happens to Jacksonville than anything else. From our preliminary surveys, we knew a lot of them didn't even know where we were."

Officials hope the mailings will increase awareness of the city.

"We don't expect people to start moving here 30 days after the Super Bowl," Mallot said. "That's not how it works. We expect them to become more knowledgeable and excited about our city. And for their next project that comes up, all we want is the chance to be considered."

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