Southwest Florida Yachts
 
 

 

Hurricane Marketing
b
y Barb Hansen
June  2006

How come the TV news people always warn us of the coming hurricane season but you never hear them announce the dreadful approach of the tornado season or the coming season of thunderstorms and flooding? What makes hurricane season so ďspecial?

As I write this it is flooding big time in the northeast. Massachusetts got 18 inches of rain in two days and it is still raining there. I donít recall the Weather Channel bombarding us with warnings that the rain and flood season was about to chase thousands from their homes.

Last month nearly a dozen people died in tornadoes in Tennessee.  I donít remember the doom and gloom cable news report that the twister season was coming and that experts were predicting four F5 tornadoes this year.

But when the subject is hurricanes, the bad news bears at the networks get really excited. They say itís going to be bad; itís going to be really, really bad. And then they show us the video of a really bad hurricane but Ė have you noticed this? Ė itís the same hurricane video they showed us last year and the year before that.

I feel badly for the people in Massachusetts and Tennessee and all the other places that deal with floods and tornadoes. But they live where they live and they all know that their regions have certain weather patterns at certain times of the year. They just deal with it.

Just about everybody has to deal with some season of rotten weather. Mother Nature is going to be predictably angry at some time of the year no matter where you live. In some places, she is going to be really angry. Earthquakes and mudslides come to California. Tornadoes rip across the country from Texas to Indiana. Blizzards and ice storms bring towns from Minneapolis to Macon to a standstill. But we usually donít hear about these ďserious weather eventsĒ until after they happen and only if they have video to show us.

Yet, for some reason, hurricanes get special TV attention before the season. Hurricanes are just two months away. Hurricanes are just one month away. Theyíre almost here. Youíre going to die.

When a hurricane is threatening Florida TV news shows us a satellite picture of a huge, rotating cloud covering the entire state of Florida and they would gladly have us believe that the entire state was about to be destroyed. But when they send their big time anchor-person into the path of the hurricane for eyewitness reports, they usually have trouble making the weather look as bad as they want it to look. (Full disclosure. I am so glad Dan Rather retired.)

Call me a cynic but what networks are trying to do is motivate us to stay right where we are and stay tuned. Itís a way to promote the channel and call it news. Fear sells, of course. Itís one of the most powerful motivators, right up there with greed, love and belonging. Be afraid. Donít leave the house. Leave that dial right where it is.

Floridians know when the satellite photo shows a cloud over Florida that under 98 percent of that cloud everyday life goes on as normal.

The good news is, that big, rotating cloud has a nice silver lining: Low hotel rates, low rates at the attractions, low yacht charter rates. The "low season" is a welcome incentive for Floridians and others to travel about the state to see the sights, visit the attractions, and go cruising, fishing and sailing. Yep, hurricane season really is special.

Rather than getting spooked by the televised fortune tellers of fear, information age travelers know to log on to credible Internet weather sites to see for themselves the real-time satellite and radar images of storms and storm tracks.

Know this: in the absence of official warnings from the National Hurricane Center you can come to Florida during the bargain season with the rational assurance that the sky is not going to fall while you are here.

 

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