TDC: Spring Break Recommendations – No More MTV

by September 25, 2009 • 33 comments

TDC/CVB had a combined meeting this week to pass Spring Break recommendations presented by Dan Rowe, CEO of the Tourist Development Council. After long weeks of deliberations, meetings and one vigorous community forum, a recommendation on Spring Break was reached that will decidedly cut Spring Break advertising ergo, cutting ties with MTV.

Bullet point recommendations at the meeting were as follows:

  • TDC Actions:
    • Limit Paid Advertising to “Spring Break Responsibly” campaigns
    • Engage in Proactive Spring Break Public Relations activities
    • Develop a Spring Break Section of with Spring Break Responsibly messages, “Rules of the Road,” Spring Break Friendly Lodging.
  • Requested City of Panama City Beach Actions
    • Conduct workshops for businesses engaged in Spring Break to discuss ways of better managing Spring Break business owners’ roles in the enforcement of state and local laws and other avenues to control potential problems related to Spring Break.
    • Conduct workshops with the public and lodging establishments not directly engaged in Spring Break on strategies to control and limit impacts from Spring Break, as well as define various roles, responsibilities, and what action public safety officials can legally and practically take.
    • Hire auxiliary police during peak weeks to augment PCB PD to increase police presence along Front Beach Road.
    • Provide additional foot, canine and ATV patrols in areas of high Spring Break activity, including on the sandy beach to enforce littering, glass and other laws.
    • Fully implement the Special Events Ordinance to insure gatherings of college students at outdoor concerts and other assemblies have appropriate management and public safety plans in place.
    • Encourage FRLA to take and active role in getting the association’s members to proactively manage Spring Break activities at their locations.

This breaks down to better overall management of the 2 month-long event coupled with a more strategic advertising aimed at positive Spring Break messaging. No additional monies will be allocated to marketing or advertising Spring Break (only towards advertising “Spring Break Responsibly” which should fall somewhere between $12-$15,000 in total). Basically, no MTV, no bucketloads of money to the event and much stronger police presence throughout the beach. The question remains as to whether or not this will satisfy everyone, but it is, incontestably, a very good start.

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1 Jellen September 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm

This is a good start. I hope we see solid follow through.


2 Andy September 29, 2009 at 6:55 am

I think this is a very good plan. Here’s hoping many others will be on board. Great article!


3 Jeremy September 29, 2009 at 8:57 am

Sure it sounds good, but how do you plan on replacing the money generated by MTV? Everybody wants a quiet, responsible, mature crowd, but is that going to equal or replace the crowd we have with MTV? The fact is, it’s good for our local economy and most businesses depend on Spring Break to survive. What’s going to draw the college kids to our beaches instead of Destin, Miami, the Keys etc… Sure it’s loud and crowded, but everybody gonna be just as upset when the beach has turned into a ghost town during spring break. People come to PCB for a reason, if they wanna go somewhere quiet, then they’ll go to Pensacola or Destin. I live on the beach and I’m willing to put up with the noise and the crowd for 8 weeks, what are we gonna take away next, Thunder Beach???


4 Traveling Terri September 29, 2009 at 9:09 am

I believe there will be more people coming (and opportunity)when the airport opens and when more cities have easier and direct access to PCB. It would be a shame if families use the new airport to go to Destin or Fort Walton Beach at Spring Break because of the bad publicity PCB spring breakers bring. There are more financial opportunities for businesses when families and responsible college Spring Breakers stay in PCB, spend money, and don’t destroy property and our image.


5 John September 29, 2009 at 9:18 am

Good start? More like the begining of the end. The TDC obviously has no clue about marketing or advertising. They always try to rebrand and reposition the beach whenever they hire a new agency. Just last year, or the year before, they allocated money to attract the MTV crowd, now they are reversing that decision. When that doesn’t work and a new council and new TDC is elected they will change course again. It has always been that way and will continue to be until a tourism/marketing/advertising professional is put in charge of this proram. And Spring Break is a two month long event? Guess again. More like the middle two weeks in March and with these new policies in place you can forget that. The $12,000 for a ‘responsibility’ campaign may as well be spent on signs along the feeder routes telling breakers to hit the brakes because they are no longer welcome. Want a new ad slogan? Here’s one: PCB. The. Place. Not. The Drug.


6 Steph September 29, 2009 at 9:27 am

I understand the spotlight on “cutting ties with MTV.” However, was there any mention of “Student City” or mtvU? Just curious… very little of “MTV” (proper) is a part of Spring Break.

It seems to me that the TDC is laying the ground work to pass the buck if something goes wrong during Spring Break 2010.


7 Gregg September 29, 2009 at 9:27 am

Speak for yourself Jeremy, I hope they do go someplace else. If we did not have Snow Birds in our condo during the month of March, I would rather leave it open than take the risk of damage.
PCB would probably take a hit for a couple of years but in the long run I feel we would be much better off without them just due to the bad reputation they give our area.


8 Jeremy September 29, 2009 at 10:09 am

We have a bad reputation???? I think we have a great reputation. Spring Break doesn’t last all year long, there is plenty of family time, snow bird time, local time… Time will tell, but I think it’s gonna have big negative impact on our economy and the TDC is gonna be the one to get the blame. I don’t think its a good idea to gamble with our local economy with the recession this country is in.


9 Dave September 29, 2009 at 9:40 am

Now, focus on getting rid of Thunder Beach!


10 Brad Kington September 29, 2009 at 9:43 am

Sure, all sounds great, all decision makers there crying about the attention & success of the past & cutting “expences”, wait till
there is no more reason to go to PCB & see how the decision makers(Jeromy) feel than!
You should be putting big bucks into new events with stuff to do instead of drink on the beach if your cutting on MTV & such!
Simply higher local bands at different points on the beach, don’t need to spend alot, people just want entertainment.


11 Brad Kington September 29, 2009 at 9:52 am

I guess your trying to turn PCB into another
raisonville like Naples with all old people that don’t spend any money & was the largest
property sell off area in Florida last year.
Things are successful the way it’s going now,
don’t distroy it, improve it & streamline & add to it!


12 Leanna September 29, 2009 at 10:55 am

I am not against loud and rowdy college people every spring break or the money they bring. That said, I feel cutting ties with MTV is smart becuase MTV is steadily loosing the popularity and appeal that it once had in the late 90s and early 2000’s. MTV is a sinking ship anyway, so it behooves us to move on!


13 Jeremy September 29, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Anybody been to Daytona lately? It’s a ghost town and its been that way since they ran off Spring Break. It all started with them wanting to change their image.


14 Traveling Terri September 29, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Man, some of you are a pretty negative bunch! There is more than one way to skin a cat…meaning, creatively trumps easy, reckless, negative MTV crowds.


15 Gregg September 29, 2009 at 2:43 pm

So you mean wild drunken parties, under age drinking, willful distruction of property, rude behavior is OK if it brings these types of visitors to our beach?


16 Jeremy September 29, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Look, you don’t slap the hand that feeds you! Don’t completely do away with something that works so well in so many ways. The college crowds have some bad points, but the good far out weigh the bad. Its nice to see the beaches full of people after a quiet winter.


17 jellen September 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm

The drunken spring break college kids don’t “feed” everyone or all the businesses in PCB, Jeremy. They drive many people away. Plus, no one should have to hide out or leave their town for a weekend or a month because some business owners prefer to pander to rowdy crowds who show no consideration for anyone outside of their demographic. That includes the college spring breakers and the Thunder Beach noise makers. I hope we can turn PCB around and build a better reputation. Yes, PCB does have a bad reputation although I realize “bad” is defined by whomever is using the term.

I say thumbs up for this decision.


18 RC September 29, 2009 at 7:20 pm

As a beachfront owner, I am ready for spring break as we know it to end. It does pump money into the cheap motels and bars. But the rest of us pay a steep price with the rude crowd.

Just my opinion, but I think it is becoming the majority opinion in PCB.



19 Bryan Durta September 29, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Jeremy, you clearly have a lot of concern for our destination and local economy. I would recommend that you contact the TDC/CVB and request a viewing of the focus groups of prospective visitors from two of our key markets, Atlanta and Nashville. I would also suggest that you request a copy of the Spring Break Perception Study. Both were complete earlier this year prior to the TDC/CVB making the decision that you are concerned about.


20 james September 30, 2009 at 2:37 am

honestly, i think this is going to destroy the economy the beach does have left. i’m sure the spring break crowd is what brings us 50% of the money we earn from the tourist season. these teens and people in their 20s come down and they have their parents debit and/or credit cards, and spend on whatever… yeah, spring break is crazy, but what about bike week? i saw more nudity in hotels walking down the beach, more vulgarity, and more drunks on bike week than i do on spring break. if your going to do something about one annoyance, do something about all the annoyances. and maybe, start with cleaning up the beach… for instance… the beach club motel…. yeah, classy people are going to stay there for sure. what a bunch of damn idiots we have as county and city officials.


21 james September 30, 2009 at 2:39 am

and might i add, “underage drinking”, sorry, but that’s going to happen here whether we have spring break or not. i think people overreact. all you have to do to avoid spring break is avoid front beach rd and thomas drive at certain times of the night… people come here to have a good time, not be criticized for what they do. and another thing, why doesn’t the county do something about the hobos sleeping everywhere and HARRASING and THREATENING people for money?


22 Rod Simmons September 30, 2009 at 7:16 am

I’m new to the area, so I don’t know what the real issues are. I don’t know what kind of money MTV brought to the city, but if they are cut what are you going to do to generate money lost. Extra police patrols are good and I would have thought the norm at that time frame and I am sure that is at a cost, again how do you off-set the cost with the loss of MTV (I am an ex-Chief of Police, so I have delt with these issues in the past). Since we are a resort area and want to capture business, for sure in these times, I am not sure we want to not make our area attractive to the college group. At the end of the day, how bad has it been and some things are just the cost of doing business, when you are a resort area.


23 Jeremy September 30, 2009 at 9:37 am

Whats the solution when this doesn’t work? It’s not just the bars and liquor stores they support. Its, the resturaunts, condo’s, jet ski rentals, parasails, fishing charters, cabs, airport, walmart, Pier Park etc…. Ever heard good news is no news? Unfortunately bad news is the only news the tv stations want to cover. The dozen or so incedents we have each Spring Break is very very small compared to the number of people that actually come here. We shouldn’t label them all as drunk, horny, partiers. My guess is most people that are doing the labeling aren’t on the beach during spring break and haven’t seen this first hand. They’re only going by whats reported on the TV. Unless you can replace the income generated by Spring Break/MTV you shouldn’t be so quick to get rid of it. Is anybody taking these kinds of risk with their on check books? Everybody I know is worried about the economy and wouldn’t do anything to risk their income righnow.


24 James September 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Kudos to the TDC for finally doing the right thing!
Much thanks to PCBDaily as well for staying on top of the issue.


25 James D. September 30, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Interesting. I just now noticed another “james” commenting. So as not to confuse the commentary of the lower-case james, I will now go by “James D.”

With that said, I have to vehemently disagree with “james” on the perceived destruction of the beach’s economy by not backing any MTV-related Spring Break events.

Panama City Beach can hold its own without the negative element MTV brings with it. Unlike 1996 or 1997 — when MTV’s visit was much more docile and respectable, things have changed in pop-culture and the MTV brand as well. It makes no sense for taxpayer dollars to back a third-party effort which goes against the direction the beach is taking to develop tourism. You don’t spend thousands creating new campaigns to bring people to PCB and then undermine those efforts by sponsoring an organization that presents a contrary image.

With the economy still precarious, students will continue to flock to PCB because it simply costs them less than Cancun, Negril, or even Key West! It is still a good value overall — and is still Florida’s “within reach destination.”

Some may feel not supporting MTV is a mistake. The reality is it will likely pay long-term dividends in the form of better publicity, cleaner beaches, and repeat visits from spring breakers as they grow older and remember what a pleasant experience they had in PCB!


26 Chuck Kramer October 2, 2009 at 9:58 am

Keep On! & we’ll have NO One visiting PCB – for TDC/etc, Prune juice is the best way to get over the constipation on this issue – Last I looked this IS America! ALL COMER’S ARE INVITED TO VISIT PCB!!!


27 Gregg October 2, 2009 at 11:18 am

All are invited that respect the law and property of our beach, the rest can go someplace else.


28 Jeremy October 2, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Gregg…you sound so perfect but everybody isn’t like you. Some people have a beer and stay out after the street lights come on. And they spend money, which our local economy desperately needs. Nobody’s forcing you to rent your condo to Spring Breakers. You need to be more considerate others. Do you count on running water, food, shelter? Well so do these people that count on the money from Spring Breakers. Nobody is making you pick up trash, or police the beach. PCB pays people to do that, and NO I don’t work on the beach. Relax, and have a beer!


29 Jeff October 3, 2009 at 11:41 am

Heck ya, chase off MTV. Then Chase off the Bikers, while your at it all those nasty people that come here and drink wine and listen to music, what a hassle!

Lets make sure no one comes to our little pc of heaven, so we can all be dependent on the county to support us, and buy our depends, heck even pay to have some one change em for us.

I’ve been here 11yrs, I enjoy all our visitors. I know how to avoid the crowd when I want to. To say that kids getting a college education and spending money in my biz’s is a bad thing, LOL. Most of the kids have a better education at the junior level than the idiots spending all OUR tax money and voting to destory the economy.

But that IS THE perfect way to make the population dependent on GOVT, destroy economy, make more rules, oh hey, I think I heard that plan b4, but I prefer it in the origial German 1938 version.


30 RC October 6, 2009 at 11:30 am

Nobody is saying do away with spring break. What the majority of people in PCB want are the laws enforced.

If your income is dependent on underage drinking then I think the day is coming when you will have to take that business elsewhere.



31 Judy Pelon October 16, 2009 at 11:49 am

Other cities like Daytona Beach, don’t allow any alcohol on the beaches. That eliminated Spring Breakers completely. It’s the alcohol that is causing so much problem. People don’t act the way they normally do when they are drunk out of their mind. MTV promotes that sort of atmosphere. Our city has sufford long enough with the increased crime and thousands of our tax money to clean up the mess behind these establishments that sell it.

I for one thank the board for taking bold steps. The airport is a great tool to bring more folks to panama City Beach. WE need national news that Panama City Beach is no longer promoting Spring Break for Spring Breakers but welcome all families.


32 Danielle October 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm

I read all the negative comments about spring break and not wanting it. It puzzles me why people are so negative. I have been there 3 times at spring break, and each time was great. I met my husband the second time in 1998, met up again in 1999. Have been married for 9 years, with 3 kids. We have been here 4 times on vacation. There are probably alot of stories like this from spring break. I we would not have met my husband and have 3 wonderful kids. I probably would not have came back to PCB or never came at all if it wasn’t for spring break.