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Special Project

Special Project
From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

Virginia is for Lovers

Entered in Travel & Tourism, Storytelling


Back in 1969, the agency Martin and Woltz (now The Martin Agency) created the “Virginia is for lovers” campaign for the Virginia Tourism Corporation. It went on to become one of the most recognized tourism slogans of all time, and what Advertising Age called one of the more iconic ad campaigns of the past 50 years. 


In the wake of the violence at last year’s “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, it was time to remind the world what Virginia stands for. 


For the next evolution of “Virginia is for lovers,” Alkemy X was tasked with creating “LoveShare,” a short film series that brings together different groups of real people for a variety of scenarios grappling with issues of race, sexual identity and class.Thesubjects were given a vacation in Virginia; as they were challenged with important social issues, the Alkemy X crew challenged then to see Virginia in a different way.


The goal of “LoveShare” campaign was to positionVirginia as a place that brings all people together, even those who don’t necessarily see eye to eye, to share the things they love.

Strategy and Execution

Creatively, the project’s director, documentary filmmaker Jonathan Yi, wanted all of the talent interactions to actually be authentic, not just feel authentic. So it was important for all of the meetings, greetings and hugs to happen on camera. Alkemy X keptthe friends/ family members separate once they arrived in Virginia. It was difficult, but the efforts paid off: everything caught on camera was real. 


Jonathan needed the subjects to have honest, sometimes tough conversations. This isn’t an easy task when there are strangers standing close by--and pointing cameras at you, too. So Alkemy X  made them feel comfortable,stripping the crew down to just three people for the more intimate conversations.


Logistically, Alkemy X traveled across the state of Virginia in a limited amount of time. In five days, the crew went from Richmond to Charlottesville to Virginia Beach and back to Richmond.  


Through shared experiences, common passions and getting up-close to Virginia’s culinary scene, people who have their differences were reminded that the things they share are much bigger than the things that divide them. And in the end, proved Virginia really is for lovers.


The campaign effectively increased the visibility of Virginia as a tourist destination, with the tourism department receiving an increase in its number of inquiries.


The campaign won gold at the Philadelphia ADDY Awards, in the Branded Content and Entertainment category. The work was also featured in ShootOnline as the SPOT OF THE WEEK and on AdWeek.

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Alkemy X, Virginia Tourism Corporation