NIAGARA FALLS, NY - If you watched Nik Wallenda cross walk across the Little Colorado River Gorge Sunday, you may have seen a commercial about Niagara Falls. It's estimated that over five million other people saw it too.
Niagara USA is the group under the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation (NTCC) that is in charge of Niagara Falls tourism and marketing. Niagara USA put together a television ad that ran in 15 major markets across the country.
According to John Percy, the President and CEO of the NTCC, the commercial's target audience was focused mainly on large markets and ran in major cities like Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland.
"We really hit that main North East and Mid Atlantic and Mid West region where it's close driving distance to the falls... The impressions last night was 5.2 million impressions," Percy said.
That means that millions of people from major population centers all over this side of the country were expected to see the commercial promoting Niagara Falls.
The commercial was specifically shot for this campaign and Niagara USA wanted to focus in on the connection between Nik Wallenda and his walk over The Falls last year. The commercial even included a good luck wish from Niagara USA.
"When you're coming from a family of daredevils and he makes his first grand debut here in Niagara Falls, we have to play off of that and we have to capitalize it wherever we can," Percy said.
Percy says he knew that people would be talking about the walk over the Falls Sunday before Wallenda attempted his next big walk over the gorge near the Grand Canyon and that he wanted to take advantage of that.
"It was important that if they were discussing Niagara Falls that we were in the forefront of people's minds last night while they were watching... to reconsider us and think about us once again," Percy said.
Niagara USA decided to craft the campaign in hopes of bringing more visitors to Niagara Falls. In only one day after the commercial aired, Niagara USA has already seen a large increase in tourism interest.
"Our website had an uptake in visitation, our phones were ringing today from these various markets, and also bookings on our website and the number of reservations are up today alone, " Percy said.
According to Percy, the campaign was initially going to cost about $3,000. However, the recent settlement from the dispute over casino revenue between New York State and The Seneca Nation of Indians allowed Niagara USA to create a much bigger budget for the ad, and thus reach a far larger audience.
"We are a designated recipient out of the state legislation for those monies and we receive seven percent of the overall take that's given to the city... We put forth a little over $25,000 towards the campaign," Percy said.
The casino cash Niagara USA received was to be used for marketing purposes only, so Percy felt the opportunity was a perfect fit.
Percy says it was the perfect opportunity for Niagara Falls to be put in the spotlight and he can already tell Niagara Falls will benefit from the campaign.
"We know that campaign, as small as it was... The 15 markets we were in were significant enough to make a large impression on this destination," Percy said.