Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau tops 100 awards in seven years for marketing material

For the fifth year in a row, the Smoky Mountain Convention and Visitors Bureau (SMCVB) took top honors at the Knoxville Advertising Federation’s ADDY Awards, an awards program held each year to recognize all forms of advertising and creative materials. The SMCVB’s “Festivals Maze” campaign received Best of Print, and the “A Helping Hand” ad promoting the Peaceful Side of the Smokies won the Overall Best of Show. Additionally, the SMCVB won 14 Gold ADDYs—the most of any brand.

This year’s recognition at the ADDYs takes the SMCVB’s total awards for its marketing campaigns to more than 100 since 2003.

“Our partnership with the Tombras Group has helped our community earn a tremendous amount of recognition amongst our peers, which is impressive, especially when you look at the national brands and campaigns we are up against,” said Herb Handly, executive vice president of tourism for the SMCVB. “The quality of our marketing materials is leading our industry, and our history of award-winning campaigns proves that.”

While the awards are a nice recognition, Handly also emphasized that the important thing about these honors are that they reinforce the SMCVB’s approach to sustainable tourism, and they are designed to build brand awareness and recognition among travelers interested in the heritage, culture and history of the area.

“Awards are great, but the bottom line is that we want to attract visitors who are interested in our Appalachian heritage and our beautiful surroundings,” said Handly. “With the best campaigns in the region, and often the nation, I believe our efforts are doing exactly what we intend them to do and attracting the types of visitors we want to come to Blount County. We have really set ourselves apart from your typical tourist destination, and our sustainable tourism program will hopefully continue to flourish with these efforts.”

The SMCVB has worked with the Tombras Group for more than a decade to create a series of unique campaigns and marketing materials designed to attract visitors, meeting planners, business travelers and build the reputation for all of the heritage and natural beauty of Blount County.

In 2009, the SMCVB materials earned 22 ADDYs, including Best of Show Overall and the Best of Show Print its Low Impact Vacation print ad campaign. Additionally, SMCVB received 12 Gold ADDYs and eight Silver ADDYs for materials created for the Low Impact Vacations (, “Real Vacation, Real Close,” and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Birthday print ad campaigns, for the Cades Cove Tours logo, and for the Townsend festivals Web site.

Blount County’s tourism industry remains the number two industry in the county, generating an economic impact of more than $300 million annually, $80.6 million in payroll to more than 3,100 employees, and $10.3 million in local tax revenue. On an average day, visitors will spend more than $700,000 in the county, which ranks Blount County as the number six county in visitor expenditures in the State of Tennessee according to the Travel Industry Association.

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