Vacationing Founding Fathers Help Promote Tourism in Buzzfeed ‘Listicle’

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Benjamin Franklin is depicted in a Buzzfeed "listicle" as "our nation’s first true intellectual" who would dine at Taste Studio. (Buzzfeed)
Benjamin Franklin is depicted in a Buzzfeed “listicle” as “our nation’s first true intellectual” who would dine at Taste Studio. (Buzzfeed)

The Founding Fathers recently got the GIF treatment – courtesy of Buzzfeed – to help promote the Revolutionary City as a vacation destination.

In a “listicle” titled “10 Things The Founding Fathers Would Be Doing In Williamsburg, VA, Today,” readers can learn about different attractions and events while enjoying humorous animations of the Founding Fathers.

The cartoons range from John Adams riding a Segway in Yorktown to Alexander Hamilton emerging from a massage at the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg.

Corrina Ferguson, director of destination campaign marketing for the Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee, said the article is one of four Buzzfeed-style pieces debuting this spring that will promote travel to Williamsburg.

Advertisements that look like news articles, a form of native advertising, is one of many strategies WADMC is employing this year to reach its target audience, which includes mothers, couples and women between the ages of 25 and 45.

“We just have to modify our advertising behavior to follow consumers and go where they’re going,” Ferguson said. “What consumers are doing is reading native content as opposed to actually responding to traditional ads.”

Through a partnership, Buzzfeed created a custom page for the Visit Williamsburg native advertisements and writers pitched stories for the campaign. In addition to the Founding Fathers piece, “11 Reasons Every Parent Should Add Williamsburg, VA, To Their Summer Plans,” an article targeted to mothers, was published.

Ferguson said writers from Buzzfeed will be in Williamsburg this weekend to research for the third and fourth stories. One will be about the writers’ road trip “in search of America’s roots” from the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. to Williamsburg, Va. The other will be a recap of a beer and spirits tour through Williamsburg.

“It becomes more authentic because it’s going to be in their voice,” Ferguson said, adding those stories will be online as early May.

The response to the advertisements has been “very, very positive,” Ferguson said, and while it is too early to say if WADMC will purchase more native advertisements with Buzzfeed, she said it is a great way to get the message out to a different audience.