Graceland, Elvis Presley's former home in Memphis, Tenn., will air television ads for the first time this month to attract fans and tourists to the mansion. Thompson & Co., an independent Memphis shop, has produced two 30-second spots that use vintage home movies of The King, including some footage never shown publicly before. The ads will begin airing on Dish Network satellite channels HGTV, Lifetime, Food Network, Style, Discover Home, WE, Lifetime Movie Network, Discover Health, DIY, Wisdom Television and SoapNET.
EPE press release:
MEMPHIS, Tennessee, April 19, 2005 – Two 30-second television commercials designed to attract vacationing families to Graceland to experience the “real” Elvis Presley will air nationally beginning in late April.
It will be the first time in the history of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. that the company has used television advertising to promote Graceland tourism.
The spots, created by Memphis-based Thompson & Company, feature vintage home movies of Elvis, his family and friends. The message reminds viewers that Elvis was a genuine, fun-loving person, not merely an icon, and people still can visit his home in Memphis and actually see where and how he lived.
“Elvis was such an amazing entertainer that we sometimes forget there is so much more to him than all those great songs and fabulous shows,” said Mark Robinson, executive creative director at Thompson & Company. “We wanted to remind people that by visiting his home, Graceland, they can actually see how he lived and really meet the man behind the legend.”
The spots are tagged, “Graceland. Where Elvis Lives.”
Jennifer Burgess, director of marketing at Elvis Presley Enterprises, said the goals for the spots are to create awareness of Graceland as a prime leisure travel destination and increase ticket sales for tours and merchandise revenues.
“Our marketing budget is limited and traditionally we have relied on print advertising, online marketing and the news media to communicate our tourism marketing message,” she said. “However, this year offers a unique opportunity for us to capitalize on national television exposure around Elvis resulting from sweeps month programming on CBS.”
CBS will air two high-profile, prime-time shows about Presley during the sweeps month of May. One program, “Elvis,” is a two-part miniseries; the other “Elvis By the Presleys,” is a TV special featuring home movies, vintage performance footage and new, intimate interviews with this former wife, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and their daughter, Lisa Marie Presley.
“Those shows will create a significant buzz around Elvis Presley and we hope to capitalize on this increased focus,’ Burgess said. “Spring is also the time of the year when families plan summer vacations and we want to put Graceland on their radar screens as the perfect family destination.”
Michael Thompson, chairman & CEO of Thompson & Company, said, “Working with Elvis Presley Enterprises is an opportunity any ad agency dreams about. Our experience in the travel and tourism industry and, sensitivity to what Elvis means in American history, made us a blue-suede shoe-in for this account.”
The Graceland spots will air via satellite on Dish Network’s women-targeted channels that include HGTV, Lifetime, Food Network, Style, Discover Home, WE, Lifetime Movie Network, Discovery Health, DIY, Wisdom Television and SoapNET.
Burgess said the decision to use satellite was made because “we are targeting a very specific audience and the broad spectrum of channels targeting this demo are well represented there. We want to reach women 25 to 54 who plan vacations for their families. Also, since our media budget is limited, we need a cost-effective plan that will give us the best exposure to our targeted demographic.”
Initially, two 30-second spots were produced which will run piggy-backed as a 60-second spot. Viewers will be asked to contact Graceland by phone at 1-888-ELVIS LIVES or visit tourgraceland.com.
To create the spots, Iddo Patt, broadcast producer at Thompson & Company, estimates he spent more than two weeks reviewing home movies.
“It was the experience of a lifetime to be able to immerse myself in the real lives of Elvis and his family,” Patt said. “It was a privilege. And it was very touching.”
Some of the footage used in the two spots has never been seen by the public.
“Elvis Presley Enterprises has something no one else in the world has: Elvis,” said Patt. “When you get close to Elvis, you realize what an inspirational person he was . . . or should I say ‘is.’”