Extraordinary Savannah

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Bringing a bit of movie magic to authentic Savannah scenes, Visit Savannah’s new ad campaign aims to engage. VP of communications and marketing Jeremy Harvey takes us behind the scenes. 

What was the inspiration for this series of ads?

Savannah is such an amazing, unique and beautiful place, but it’s also mysterious and whimsical. The agency we partnered with, Paradise, captured those complementary qualities. All of this is manifested linguistically in a statement from the campaign: “This isn’t ordinary. This is Savannah.”

A spirited tea service. Photo courtesy Visit Savannah

How did these ideas play out visually?

Every shot and every location are recognizable, from Forsyth Park to downtown squares. That’s where the authenticity of the campaign comes in. While we “dressed up” the shots with some set design, the locations were very much ready to go when we arrived. The unexpected and evocative elements are in the action. From the little girl literally floating on air, to the bride peeking into a secret garden, to the homage to Savannah’s haunted reputation in the form of an elegant inn’s teapot held by an unseen host, the action is what sets the campaign apart from simple scenery shots.

Up, up and away in Forsyth Park. Photo courtesy Visit Savannah

Do you have any behind- the-scenes gems to share? 

The Hamilton-Turner Inn has a reputation, like many homes in the city, for being haunted. The owners were gracious enough to let us shoot there. During the day of the shoot, I decided to sit in the dining room as the photographer and crew were setting up the shot in the parlor. The only other person in the room with me was the producer, who had one of three walkie-talkies. All of a sudden, her walkie-talkie crackled to life, and a child’s voice rang out the familiar A-B-Cs song, stopping at G. The only people who had walkie-talkies were the producer sitting next to me, the wardrobe person whom I could see outside and the photographer. There were no kids in the inn at all. We both looked at each other like, “What was that?” 

Behind the magic. Photo courtesy Visit Savannah

What’s your favorite part of living in Savannah?

I really love the live oaks. I grew up in small town in Pennsylvania that didn’t have these trees. If most towns had just one of these live oak trees, there would be festivals celebrating it every year. We have thousands of trees like that. They are just wonderful.