Gville Tourism Dept. recognized for creative marketing

The Gainesville Tourism Department was recently recognized by a state tourism organization for creative marketing.


“For its wildly popular “From Gainesville, With Love” postcard campaign, the department received the Al Burruss Award for Creative Expression, presented during the 2024 Georgia Tourism Awards at the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVB) Annual Conference Feb. 13-15 in Albany. The Al Burruss Award for Creative Expression recognizes an individual or entity that develops a creative community public relations initiative. The Gainesville CVB last received the award in 2019 for its “Free-Range GVL” campaign, which featured the Poultry Capital of the World’s unofficial mascot – chickens “exploring” various parts of the Gainesville-Hall County community.

Under the latest campaign, the Tourism Department designed 12 unique postcards illustrating an event, attraction, piece of history – even the vibe of Gainesville. Postcards – the designs for which were teased online, but kept under wraps – were revealed at City events like First Friday concerts, Food Truck Friday, and Jingle Mingle and the Lighting of the Chicken. During these events, the mobile visitors center unveiled a fun environment – mailbox included – for guests to sit down, address and write a postcard note, then drop it in the mailbox. Postcards were mailed for free and a little bit of Gainesville, Georgia was shared around the United States and across the globe – 45 states and 14 countries, to be exact.

Gainesville Tourism Director Robyn Lynch credited Lake Lanier Olympic Park (LLOP) Division Manager James Watson with the idea. LLOP operates under the Gainesville Tourism Department, along with The Boathouse at Lake Lanier, Gainesville CVB, Main Street Gainesville and Greater Gainesville Sports Alliance.

“Is there anything more gratifying than that feeling of receiving a handwritten message?” Watson asked rhetorically. “Knowing in that moment that wherever the sender was, they were thinking of you? Most places I visit, I pick up a postcard and send it to my grandfather, because in the age of digital, I know he still enjoys receiving something tangible. Because of this experience, I pitched the idea to our team. Through lots of collaboration, ‘From Gainesville, With Love’ was born. This campaign was an overwhelming success with postcards traveling across the globe and tons of feedback from others who loved bringing postcards back to the limelight.”

Not only was the City’s postcard campaign inexpensive to produce and promote, but it stirred excitement within the community, so much so, they became collectibles and a hot commodity for residents and visitors to snag at local events or by visiting the Gainesville Visitors Center. Postcard sets were in such demand, many purchased them as Christmas gifts at Jingle Mingle in November 2023, which offset the City’s production costs. Every element was created in house from scratch, from the design and implementation, to the mailbox setup, to mailing and tracking each card.

“It was not only exciting, but uplifting to see so many residents and visitors eager to share a piece of Gainesville, Georgia with their friends and loved ones across the country and globe,” Lynch said. “Who would have thought that such a simple campaign would spark so much chatter and involvement! Needless to say, we’re looking forward to seeing the participation grow in 2024, starting with Mutts on Main in late March. If you didn’t have the opportunity to check out the campaign in 2023, we highly encourage you to check out exploregainesville.org for the teasers, then stop by any City-hosted event to get your hands on one or more limited-edition postcards. Send one to a friend, another to a family member – anyone you feel would appreciate the gesture.”

 (PICTURED: GAINESVILLE TOURISM TEAM. BACK ROW from left, are LLOP Division Manager James Watson, GGSA Manager Mckenna Kauffmann, Welcome Center Manager Lauren Shubert, Tourism Director Robyn Lynch, Main Street Manager Nicole Parham, Facilities Maintenance and Custodial Coordinator Aaron Mullican FRONT ROW from left, Boathouse Special Events Manager Deb Gravitt, Plaza Special Events Manager Morgan Wingler and CVB Sales & Marketing Manager Regina Ingebrigtsen.