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New Tourism Campaign to Replace 'Stronger Than The Storm'

2014 campaign will 'build on the progress that we’ve made,' state official says

'Stronger Than the Storm' ads peppered television screens in 2013. (Photo: Stronger Than The Storm/ Youtube)
'Stronger Than the Storm' ads peppered television screens in 2013. (Photo: Stronger Than The Storm/ Youtube)
New Jersey officials say a new round of tourism promotion to be paid out of Superstorm Sandy recovery dollars will replace the "Stronger than the Storm" campaign.

"Stronger than the Storm" advertisements, ubiquitous on television during the spring and summer seasons in 2013, featured businesses and boardwalks recovering from the destruction of Sandy, but caused controversy due to what some called an inaccurate portrayal of the recovery process, and later for revelations about its funding.

The new round of ads will be funded by a $5 million allocation of federal storm recovery money and is part of a plan unveiled Monday by the state that accounts for how the latest round of $1.46 billion in storm relief will be laid out.

While the ads were initially popular, Gov. Chris Christie has faced criticism for awarding the campaign's production contract to a politically-connected advertising firm and starring in the ads himself while he was running for re-election.

The campaign is now being reviewed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development after Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6) asked for the Republican governor's involvement to be probed by the agency. The initial ad campaign was also funded through federal storm recovery money.

The new $5 million outlay of cash for tourism promotion in 2014 is a far cry from the $25 million spent to produce and air "Stronger than the Storm," which will not be used this year.

"You really have to reset the music," said Marc Ferzan, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding, noting that a U.S. Department of Commerce report suggested an additional campaign.

"We think, this season, we did well patching up and getting ahead of the curve for the first season," said Ferzan. "We are thinking we’re going to be in much better [condition] this year, but we need to build on the progress that we’ve made."

Aside from the campaign's political implications, some Jersey Shore locals were critical of the initial set of advertisements for promoting the idea that the area had completely recovered, while some neighborhoods were still in tatters.

The details of the campaign will be handled by the state's Economic Development Authority, Ferzan said. Officials from that agency were not immediately available for comment.
anonymous February 05, 2014 at 04:00 PM
"While promoting tourism at the Jersey Shore in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is certainly a worthy endeavor, recent reports have led me to believe that the state has irresponsibly misappropriated funding allocated by Congress from the Sandy aid package and taken advantage of this waiver for political purposes," Pallone, who represents much of the northern Shore region, wrote in requesting the probe last August. "I respectfully request that you review and investigate the contract, bidding process utilized by the State of New Jersey, and appropriateness of the content of this marketing campaign."
anonymous February 05, 2014 at 04:04 PM
"While promoting tourism at the Jersey Shore in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is certainly a worthy endeavor, recent reports have led me to believe that the state has irresponsibly misappNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, viewed by many as a hero of Superstorm Sandy, is now facing a federal investigation into his use of millions in money his administration received as part of a massive recovery package, ABC News has learned.
Beach Mover February 05, 2014 at 04:06 PM
Here's how I see it. If the money was spent improperly or illegally it should be investigated. I'm glad you think it is a worthwhile thing if done properly. I think if most people were honest Christie was the great ambassador for NJ. He was a great spokesmen at that point close to 70% of people in NJ thought he was doing a good job. We know that many people now think that had changed.
anonymous February 05, 2014 at 04:08 PM
I guess the feds have it wrong. You might want to call them and let them know what you know. anonymous
Beach Mover February 05, 2014 at 04:12 PM
Got the call in if they respond I will post. Thank for tip.

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