Bureau staff plan a similar approach to the state's sesquicentennial celebration, also planned for this summer.
The visitors bureau recently had a quirky advertising video shot featuring an Abraham Lincoln impersonator checking out the sights, driving around town with Mayor Danny Jones and hanging out at local restaurants and other establishments. The ad is designed to lure visitors to town for the state's 150th anniversary.
Members of the visitors bureau are also pinning high hopes on the bureau's new "I'm Charlie West" advertising campaign. The campaign features prominent local citizens and is intended to show the many sides of the Charleston community.
Bailey said the new marketing campaign would rely more heavily on social media to help spread the word about what Charleston has to offer.
A new Internet website seems to be working, because the number of new visitors has jumped from about 6,400 the month before the new site made its debut to almost 12,000 in the month after it came online. Bailey said local residents were tweeting pictures of Abraham Lincoln and talking about the impersonator on Facebook before the ad campaign became public knowledge.
Bailey and Jarrett hope the "Charlie West" campaign will get city residents involved in touting the city from the inside out, spreading the word through word of mouth and social media. "If this is going to work, we all have to buy into it," she said.
Jarrett echoed the sentiment.
"We want to engage the community," she said.
"We want the community to get behind this brand of 'Hip, Historic ... Almost Heaven, Charleston, West Virginia,'" she said, referring to the city's new marketing motto.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.