I remember Spring Break in 1989…barely. My buddies and I tried to figure out which place in Florida would be more fun? Daytona or Fort Lauderdale. We chose Fort Liquordale.
Fort Lauderdale became the best-known spot for college spring breakers after the release of Where the Boys Are in 1960. Businesses in Daytona saw what was happening and wanted a piece of the action, but it came with a cost. The battle between Fort Lauderdale and Daytona was waged in print and on the airwaves. In 1989, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale threw in the towel. On national television, he asked that spring breakers consider Daytona Beach instead. “Go away.”
Panama City Beach has tried to woo spring breakers for years now and the city of Miami is regretting their $5 million tourism campaign in 2021. On Monday, Miami Mayor Dan Gelber declared a state of emergency for the second year in a row, “We don’t want spring break here.”
Regardless of “where the boys (and girls) are” spring break can be a good time…for brands. Many brands are capitalizing on this booze-fueled rite of passage. Crest recently has set up mobile tooth-brushing carts outside of popular nightclubs in Florida. Gillette has sponsored beachfront oxygen bars and placed products in spring break hotel rooms. The Army National Guard set up an obstacle course on the beach with recruitment officers passing out information in the hopes of finding (sober) recruits. Trojan condoms, a spring break marketing veteran, is once again handing out promotional T-shirts and free samples.
Not all companies are going to target broke 18-23-year-olds. But today’s Gen Z seems to have much more disposable income than Generation X did in the ’80s and ’90s. I ate ramen five nights a week and drank Milwaukee’s Best to save enough money to fill my VW Bug’s tank with 90-cent gallons of gas for the drive to SoFlo. In contrast, it is estimated that Gen Z has a spending power in excess of $143 billion. #Yolo
I’ve often said you need to put the right message in front of the right people at the right time. These brands know their consumers. They know their behaviors, their likes, their dislikes, and most importantly, they know where they will be in the month of March.