For tourism marketing, south of France hits home

New  campaign will capitalize on county’s cosmopolitan flair

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Blair Mahoney

Blair Mahoney, executive director of the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau, explained the importance of boosting tourism in the region.

It wasn’t exactly an identity crisis, but the folks entrusted with promoting the area as a tourist destination have agonized for some time over the optimal way to describe the area’s ambience, attractions, and geography in ways that generate more visitors.

On Tuesday, the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau held a news conference with representatives from Dana Communications, a Princeton-based ad agency. The bureau selected Dana to set the tone for increasing tourism with a branding initiative – creating engaging materials that will connote the region’s myriad offerings -from the Brandywine River Museum to QVC to the Wharton Esherick Museum.

Highlighting the importance of the tourism industry, Blair Mahoney, the bureau’s executive director, cited research showing that visitors infuse the local economy with an average of $300 a day. He expressed gratitude to the Chester County commissioners, who recently raised the hotel tax, giving Mahoney’s agency funding for the marketing promotion.

Dana’s creative director and chief operating officer, Lynn Kaniper, said two main challenges emerged quickly: how to encapsulate the diversity of attractions and how to identify the geography so that outsiders had an immediate sense of place. After an intensive three months of meetings, tours, and interviews, the team had a voila moment – consistent with a region of rolling hills and artisan cuisine that has hosted Marquis de Lafayette and a plethora of du Ponts.

So if you’re thinking of traveling to Europe anytime soon, you may want to reconsider. If Dana’s crew makes its mark, residents may feel more joie de vivre right in their backyards.  An invasion of Europe-inspired  tourism materials will tout the region’s cosmopolitan flair with the logo: Brandywine Valley, the South of France, just a little west of Philly.

Even the name Brandywine Valley got a makeover and – with some inspiration from Longwood Gardens and local wineries – appears with the stylized letters “b” and “v” intersecting to resemble a bursting flower. The colors? Soft green and deep merlot.

Westley Hackmann, a senior account executive at Dana, said the next step is “to educate the consumers about our brand.” Toward that end, he said promotions would occur at popular venues, such as the Philadelphia Flower Show. It’s enough to make you “appreciate the unique attractions, wonderful food and wine, lively events and scenic rolling hills of our charming Pennsylvania countryside destination.” For more information, visit







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