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A Florida City Wants More Retirees, and Is Going After Them

A Florida City Wants More Retirees, and Is Going After Them

To better compete for baby boomers — and improve its chances against other college communities like Athens, Ga., or Tuscaloosa, Ala. — Choose Tallahassee ramped up last fall and expanded from an all-volunteer organization to one with a paid staff. It hired a part-time executive director. The group now has a budget of $150,000, three times its old budget, which comes from the city and county governments as well as banks, real estate firms and other companies.

It rolled out a social media campaign in early May to promote some of the city’s offerings, including the Tallahassee Senior Center, where $5 and $7 classes include American folk music, Florida geology and excursions to a wildlife refuge center.

Using paid targeting, dedicated landing pages and the tagline “Things Aren’t the Same Since You Left,” the ads are aimed at boomers who grew up in Tallahassee, went to college there or once worked there, said Gregg Patterson, Choose Tallahassee’s executive director.

Some ads will target “anchors,” who are Tallahassee residents with parents living elsewhere, to “showcase the advantages of having your parents live there, such as free babysitting,” said Amanda Handley of the public relations agency BowStern, which oversees the campaign.

Parents who live elsewhere see only a message about the potential benefits typically provided by adult children, like free tech support and manual labor, she said. Each audience, anchor or boomer, will see only messages designed to appeal to it.

“No one really wants to relocate to babysit,” Ms. Handley said. “So the grandparents don’t see that part of the message.”

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