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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.
Beach Mover February 04, 2014 at 07:05 AM
I love the beach and have been here since we the island reopened on January 9th. It has not all been perfect not sure how it could be. I watch progress everyday. It is frustrating but not nearly as reading what all the people on the patch say. Nothing wrong with criticism , very important, but the constant negative comments just make me laugh. Love it here and I hope many people come and visit the beach.
suz February 04, 2014 at 07:56 AM
I am a optimistic and I do believe that we are stronger than the storm. Sorry that some here seem to have just given up on the Jersey Shore. Not me. Oh, and Mac, my dear....some do imply that they are against advertising, or (again) my question...is it Christie or the advertising part?
Mac February 04, 2014 at 08:57 AM
that's a tough question suz - before Christie, no one really knew the foul odors that plague the Jersey Shore came from South Toms River instead of Staten Island - Christie was actually complying with the Clean Air Act when he ordered his staff to burn the boardwalk down for a weekend reelection photo-op - it's almost like advertising with Christie casts a giant black cloud over the entire NJ shoreline
Sue February 04, 2014 at 08:59 AM
It's the wrong priority to spend $5,000,000 or commercials that benefit boardwalks (a little) and a certain politician (a lot) -- while thousands of us who need the money to rebuild their homes are still waiting for a small piece of Christie's politically doled out "block grants."
Beach Mover February 04, 2014 at 09:17 AM
Sue not sure what you think is a little benefit? Last numbers I could find was a 40 billion dollar industry for 2012 ocean and Monmouth county were over 6 billion. I am sure down in 2013 but still big numbers for many people who make a living at the shore.
suz February 04, 2014 at 09:57 AM
Sue...The $$ was not taken from the funds for the Jersey Shore. It was taken from a separate fund. Get it? We need the $$ that the shore brings into NJ. I get it.
John Cobb February 04, 2014 at 01:10 PM
Advertise and bring more fist pumpers down to places like Sleazeside.
Beach Mover February 04, 2014 at 01:31 PM
@MFMW so let the beach economy fall apart, repair homes that will have no value. Sorry to say MFMW they go hand in hand. I hope my repaired home is worth as much after the storm as it was before.
suz February 04, 2014 at 02:19 PM
Yeah, the 'fist pumpers' do support the shore, if we like it or not. But, there are plenty of other areas that do have family friendly environments that benefit as well. I guess we have to take the good with the bad?
Martin February 04, 2014 at 03:09 PM
Hmmm... $5 million wasted to bring a few tourists (less than previous years) to patronize 500 boardwalk wheels, motels, bars and restaurants... at the expense of leaving 5,000 or more year-round residents homeless? Oh, I forgot -- most of the business guys are Christie supporters. It was a no-brainer to let His Largeness "star" in the commercials during his political campaign! Is he playing the ads on his trips to Utah, Idaho and Texas? Is Kimmie running NJ during the snowstorms and scandals?
Beach Mover February 04, 2014 at 03:12 PM
Martin according to chamber of commerce the Ocean and Monmouth county econic value of tourism to the shore is 6 billion dollars. I do believd that is worth protecting. Many people on this site do not, all's far in love and war .
disgusted homeowner February 04, 2014 at 03:16 PM
Kimmie g. could run the "wash and fold" counter at your local laundromat. I personally knew a female corrections officer who worked at the monmouth county jail during kim's tenure as sheriff. She said kim was an idiot . She said joe oxley was the best sheriff they ever had till he retired . Then blondie kim took over. Hahaha......
disgusted homeowner February 04, 2014 at 03:17 PM
The magic of trick photography: fitting Crisco and his entire family in the lense of a camera. That took some doing.............
John Cobb February 04, 2014 at 03:36 PM
I see all the losers from Brick looking to cash in on this latest cash monkey.
Spooner February 04, 2014 at 04:29 PM
@disgusted homeowner- why did Christ Gramiccioni get appointed as prosecutor there? Now I see his wife got appointed to replace Bill Baroni at the Port Authority..."Governor Christie picked a lawyer with a reputation for pursuing waste and corruption to fill a top post at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as he faces continuing questions about possible political interference with the agency"
disgusted homeowner February 04, 2014 at 08:49 PM
Spooner, i only know what this longtime customer from lakehurst told me, as she worked in the jail 15 yrs. till she retired. When rabbi fred neulander from cherry hill had his trial for murdering his wife moved to monmouth county, my friend used to walk him from his cell to court everyday. She even told me he made a pass at her. Very suspicious but interesting. As to the appt. of this man to the prosecutor's office, i'm short on details.
grace February 05, 2014 at 10:03 AM
hey @ suz! how you doing? i only objected to last years tourism campaign..it was a waste of money, people were coming to the shore to gawk anyway..this year hopefully the roads are done the businesses and homes are back and then advertise...
grace February 05, 2014 at 10:04 AM
also @ suz i agree again with you ...the reason most people are against the tourism campaign is because they are against our gov christie!!!
anonymous February 05, 2014 at 11:36 AM
Grace some are haters this is true. Some people are still waiting to go back to their homes and feel that sandy money that was used on the ad should have gone to victims of the storm. As far as christie goes----- If we all prayed at once we could not save him I am afraid he is done. I wish all this never happened because I really loved CC but thats not the case and I cannot support any admin. that was corrupt. anonymous
suz February 05, 2014 at 12:04 PM
annonymous...Sandy $$ designated for the victims was not used on the advertising. Another false accusation spread by liberal news reporting.
anonymous February 05, 2014 at 12:12 PM
All the money should have gone to the victims. Taking any piece of that federal money and designating it for other reasons was wrong in the first place. You dont buy Grand Reopening signs for a store that has not been rebuilt yet. anonymous
suz February 05, 2014 at 01:19 PM
annonymous...I don't think you get what I am trying to point out to you. NO Sandy $$ for the victims was used for the advertising of the Jersey Shore. Maybe you just expected the state to hand out $$ willy nilly to anyone who was affected by Sandy? That wasn't going to happen. I think you know that fact.
Beach Mover February 05, 2014 at 02:47 PM
With some peoples reasoning you want to spend 100's of millions of dollars to fix people's homes and business. Then don't spend 1 or 2 % of the money (even if it could go to reconstruction ) to make sure the the millions spent doesn't go into bankruptcy. Many people need to rent their homes and have customers in order to survive. Many are losing their homes because everybody thinks the beach is dead.
grace February 05, 2014 at 03:04 PM
the ads were paid for thru the tourism fund...not sandy dollars...
Beach Mover February 05, 2014 at 03:18 PM
I think most people know what you are saying is correct Grace. I was trying to say even if you could it is very short sighted .
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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