LEE COUNTY, Fla., Dec. 10, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel on southwest Florida's Gulf coast today unveiled its new Manatee Message e-cards for friends and family members to connect with one another digitally this holiday season.
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An animated manatee named "Hugh Manatee" serves as a brand ambassador for the destination in a series of holiday-themed e-cards that can be customized by senders. The area's visitor and convention bureau chose a manatee for the campaign because it is an endearing and well-loved member of the destination's natural environment and pays tribute to the pristine nature of the area's unspoiled island sanctuary.
"Hugh Manatee e-cards are a light-hearted way to stay in touch with friends and family. Our destination is all about fostering reconnection with oneself and with one another, and this is a fun way to communicate that message," said Tamara Pigott, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) executive director. "We've kept the e-cards simple and allowed for personalization, so users will want to share Hugh Manatee with others."
The innovative viral campaign allows online users to customize the manatee, personalize the message and send it out via e-mail or share it with friends and family on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter by visiting www.ManateeMessage.com. Similar to other popular viral sites, users have the opportunity to pick a background in which Hugh appears, including a sprig of mistletoe over his head, a snowman, party balloons, a David statue, or a hot tub. Users then dress up Hugh with different hats, facial hair and add audio to their digital postcard by either choosing from a pre-selected menu or by typing their own comments for Hugh to speak.
A few of Hugh's pre-selected messages include: "Naughty or Nice? Does it really matter? Ho Ho Holy sea cow." (for e-card with Santa hat prop) and "Who wants some of this? Why not come over here and give me a big, wet, slobbery, whiskery smooch" (for mistletoe background).
Manatee Message is patterned after other online campaigns that have met with huge success. These include OfficeMax's Elf Yourself and CareerBuilder's Monk-e-mail.com.
The VCB is executing a promotional consumer e-mail to drive visitors to the Manatee Message website and is cross-promoting the e-cards on its website at www.FortMyers-Sanibel.com as well as on its social sites on Facebook and Twitter.
"No doubt visitors will be charmed by Hugh Manatee, so we expect to incite a lot of fun online connections this holiday," Pigott said.
For details on planning a vacation to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel to experience Hugh Manatee's home, visit www.FortMyersSanibel.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The area includes: Sanibel & Captiva Islands, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Boca Grande & Outer islands, North Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres. Images of Hugh Manatee e-cards are available upon request.
SOURCE The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel