A Lasting Relationship

50 years later, Virginia’s still for lovers.

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Photo courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation

You’ve seen the slogan on, well, everything: license plates, billboards, T-shirts, those selfie-ready “love” sculptures at rest areas. But did you ever stop to think: Why is Virginia for lovers?

Fifty years ago, Henry Mancini’s “Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet” was a hit, Woodstock was keeping the Summer of Love vibe alive, and Martin & Woltz Inc. was a Richmond ad agency working for what is now the Virginia Tourism Corp. With affection in the air, it made perfect sense for an M&W copywriter named Robin McLaughlin to suggest that Virginia is for history lovers. David Martin and George Woltz dropped the modifier, and a legend was born. 

Not only did the slogan—one of the top tourism marketing campaigns of all time according to Forbes—catch on and bring baby boomer visitors to Virginia, but it has evolved to attract their millennial offspring. A phrase that means different things to different people, it’s being used today much in the spirit of the original idea, with Virginia is for Wine Lovers, Food Lovers, Outdoor Lovers, and, yes, History Lovers popping up across state promotional material. 

This summer, VTC is using the anniversary as a springboard to partner with cities across the state for a 50-day celebration. Look for events and programs—including the collaboratively made Lovers Lager and Lovers Blend wine—at local businesses. Virginia.org


This article originally appeared in our June 2019 issue.

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