Ocean City Today
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Social media marketing plan announced for white marlin

Tourism Dept. pushes prize money on websites, to laud angler on catch in council
By Katie Tabeling | May 11, 2017
Courtesy of: Donna Abbott As part of the marketing plan to promote the prize money for the first white marlin catch of the season, Ocean City will include ads like this one on its tourism website.

(May 12, 2017) With the quest underway for the season’s first white marlin, Ocean City officials have released a marketing campaign they hope will bring more notice to the “White Marlin Capital of the World.”

During Tuesday’s Tourism Commission meeting, Tourism Director Donna Abbott laid out the strategy to promote sportfishing and the city government’s $5,000 prize to the angler who reels in the first white marlin of the season.

Three weeks ago, the City Council voted to eliminate the longstanding prize money as a way to reduce spending. After protests from the community, as well as a new $5,000 award put together by a handful of local businesses, the council reversed its decision, but said the $5,000 had to come out of the Tourism Department budget.

The campaign will have tourism officials working with Ocean City Marlin Club President Franky Pettolina and Scott Lenox of “Hooked on OC.”

“The best bang for the buck is to get out there and capture the excitement this coveted prize garners,” Abbott said. “Social media is going to be the biggest part of the promotion.”

Ocean City’s tourism social media pages will be using the hashtag “#firstwhitemarlinoc” on every post about the white marlin catch, as will the Marlin Club and “Hooked on OC” websites.

Lenox and Dave Messick also released a video on various social media platforms on Tuesday, with Lenox and Pettolina hyping the fishing prize.

Abbott added that press releases will be sent to media and a banner with the white marlin will be on the ococean.com tourism site.

“Hooked on OC also will put up a daily update on how many boats are going out for the marlin, and they’re certainly going to have a contest of who can guess when it’ll be caught. That’s engaging people to be involved and get them to learn about it,” she said.

The promotion doesn’t end when the fish is caught. Abbott added that the winning angler will be interviewed in a video, which will later be pushed through Ocean City’s various social media accounts.

The city will also recognize the winning angler by presenting the $5,000 to him or her at a council meeting.

“Before, we handed over the check unceremoniously, this year we’ll add more ceremony,” Abbott said. “Awarding that check should be a big to-do.”

Aside from the spotlight, anglers have the incentive of extra cash this year to catch the first marlin.  The coalition of local businesses first agreed to pay the $5,000 if the city backed out, will still put up the money.

If the angler is a member of the Ocean City Marlin Club, the $10,000 prize money grows even larger. The Marlin Club traditionally awards $5,000 for the first white marlin catch. That puts the total prize money available at $15,000 this year.

With a plan in place, Abbott said she had one hope in the first year.

“I hope that fish isn’t caught before it can go out,” she said.

Last year, the first white marlin was caught by Andy Urban on May 27, one of the earliest times recorded since the 1930s. Generally, the first marlin is reeled in at the end of May to early June.

 

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