Imagination Has No Limits.

The Tipping Point: How Signature Helped Save An Aging Icon.

Back in the nineteen fifties, thanks to the proliferation of vehicles, the suburbs and the interstate highway, the summer getaway was born. Like most Northeast vacation hot spots, Wildwood, New Jersey, drew tourists in droves. Again, like many other coastal towns, Wildwood witnessed an unprecedented boon in construction of hotels, motels, motor lodges, restaurants and eateries to accommodate them all. Of course, what visitors to the Wildwoods — as it’s known today — soon realized, however, was that the transformed landscape that was emerging was unlike anywhere else in the region, or maybe anywhere.

Synonymous with sun, sand and surf, the Wildwoods logo has become one of the Travel Industry's most easily recognizable symbols.

Reflecting an optimistic post-war America, the new buildings, featuring a quirky mix of upswept roofs, curvaceous, geometric shapes, and bold use of glass, steel and neon lighting, represented the country’s largest concentration of mid-century architecture. The Wildwoods had arrived —  fast-forward to the mid nineteen-nineties.


The Wildwoods have become a hot spot for visitors from all over the world.


The retro architecture of the Doo Wop Motel District is a feast for the senses.

Gone were the days of high-finned convertibles and crackling boulevards. In their place, a hodgepodge of shops, businesses and attractions served as a not-so-subtle reminder of the Wildwoods glorious past. Naturally, developers set their sights on the embattled resort, seeing a huge financial opportunity to build a completely different Wildwood from the ground up.

Providing a voice of opposition to the proposed changes was local business leader, Jack Morey. In Morey’s opinion, all of those plastic palm trees and pink flamingos throughout the Wildwoods were a treasure waiting to be rediscovered, not an eyesore to be avoided. It was an idea that would get a jolt of support from an unexpected source.

Getting wind of the revitalization battle that was taking place in the Wildwoods, architectural students representing several top universities descended on the area to study the unique Doo-Wop buildings that lined its sidewalks.

Picked up by the press, the students’ passionate stance that preservation, rather than demolition, should be undertaken in the Wildwoods, resonated with Wildwood residents.

As widespread cries for preservation grew, the sounds of impending bulldozers faded. Slowly, but surely, loud colors and flashy signage began to return to the area, leading Smithsonian Magazine to even do a feature article on the Wildwoods. Then, in 1999, a perfect storm arrived to further turn the tide.

GWTIDA (The Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority), a consortium of community leaders formed in 1993, was seeking out an advertising agency capable of helping them boost the Wildwoods underperforming tourism economy. It wasn’t the first time the organization undertook such an endeavor. In years’ prior, GWTIDA had hired and let go several ad agencies that failed to deliver positive results.

In competing against a host of other shops for the work this time, the Signature team knew the concept we presented to GWTIDA had to be both strategically sound and creatively unique if we were to stand out from the rest.

“Signature consistently created award-winning campaigns for the Wildwoods that increased tourism revenues and visitations each year… That is unprecedented in the industry.”

— Ben Rose, Director of Marketing & Public Relations / GWTIDA

After careful deliberation, it was decided that, just as Morey had believed, the best way to rejuvenate Wildwood’s overall brand value was to build on the past, not to hide from it. To take what some viewed as the town biggest ‘weakness’ and to turn it into the very marketing platform that would propel us forward. It turned out, our hunch was correct. While the other agencies pitched the kind of run-of-the-mill ideas that were unsuccessful in the past, Signature’s proposal struck a nerve with GWTIDA. The job was ours.


Excitedly accepting the challenge, Signature set about establishing an all-encompassing ad campaign that would allow the Wildwoods to take the next vital next step in, once again, becoming a destination of choice.


Guided by that philosophy, we began crafting a multi-faceted marketing initiative that would announce to the world that the Wildwoods were back! Utilizing TV, radio, print, digital, outdoor and online vehicles, and featuring the 1960 Bobby Rydell hit of the same name, the ‘Love Those Wildwood Days,’ campaign was a rousing success.


With eye-catching imagery, quirky messaging and an undeniably catchy jingle, the campaign took on a life of its own as it introduced a generation of people to a classic song while rekindling the public’s interest in a slice of Americana. In the years that followed, additional promotional efforts by Signature would reinvigorate the Wildwoods’ market position even more.

Today, nearly two decades later, the Wildwoods has recaptured the imagination of tourists the world over. From award-winning beaches to an iconic boardwalk to its funky Doo-Wop vibe, The Wildwoods stand apart as one of the East Coast’s most popular destinations — drawing over nine million people annually.


At Signature, we’re proud to say that we helped make it possible.

View our Wildwoods case study.

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