ORLANDO, Fla. – Visit Orlando, The Official Tourism Association® for Orlando, and Orlando Economic Partnership, the economic and community development organization for the region, today announced the launch of one singular, comprehensive and consistent brand to promote the destination and region. The new “Unbelievably Real” brand platform is the product of a first-of-its-kind partnership between the two organizations and was developed to speak to all audiences — leisure visitors, meeting planners, meeting attendees, travel professionals, site selectors, business relocation stakeholders and talent.
“When we combine forces and invest in economic and community development and market Orlando as a destination for tourism and meetings, we can strengthen our brand identity and take the region to the next level,” said Orange County Mayor Jerry L. Demings.
“Our ability to collaborate and join forces allows us to build a better economy, a better experience and a better community for all. Collaboration is built into the DNA of our great city and region,” said City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Our audiences intersect and, in order to have more impact on a consistent basis, we have created a compelling message on the reasons to visit, move or start a business in the Orlando region.”
“With the evolution of the Orlando region, shifts in travel and how people work, and changes brought on by the pandemic, we believe now is the perfect time to bring together our collective resources,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Unbelievably Real combines what is both fantastical and authentic about our unique destination to tell a holistic story.”
“While we may be talking to different audiences such as vacationers, meeting planners and attendees, CEOs considering moving their businesses or employees considering a move to work for one of our companies, research has supported that this new brand can create a connection with all of these groups,” said Tim Giuliani, Orlando Economic Partnership president and CEO.
Based on research and tested with a variety of audiences, the Unbelievably Real global brand’s goal is to highlight the region in a new way that tells a complete Orlando story. A Florida-based team from the marketing agency Razorfish served as the lead creative talent to develop the comprehensive brand.
Starting today, tourism-focused advertising showcasing everything from Orlando’s theme parks and attractions to outdoor adventures and world-class dining will run in TV commercials and across digital and social channels to promote summer and fall travel to Orlando. The campaign will also be augmented with outdoor boards in key markets such as New York, Boston and Chicago and promotional programs with NBC, Univision, iHeart and Urban1.
International audiences will follow with the rollout starting at U.S. Travel Association’s IPW conference June 4-8 in Orlando. This fall, a campaign targeting meetings planners and attendees will launch at the IMEX meetings industry show.
Future business and talent recruitment efforts will be featured on InvestOrlando.org, with new storylines and content focused on targeted industries in Orlando through the lens of Unbelievably Real. It will also drive business development meetings held in target markets like San Francisco, Chicago and New York with company executives, entrepreneurs and site selectors. New Unbelievably Real Orlando creative will be installed later this year in high-traffic venues like Orlando International Airport, Orlando Sanford International Airport and the Orange County Convention Center.
The Partnership and Visit Orlando also plan to take the united message of Unbelievably Real to New York City, reinforcing Orlando’s new movement to national media.
One of the first examples of the campaign is a mural designed by Orlando-based artist Clark Orr. Under the Unbelievably Real theme, the new mural brings to life how all aspects of the region shine, from tourism highlights like nightly fireworks and adventures on our waterways to innovative technologies such as simulation and rocket launches. The mural is on display on a painted wall in Brooklyn through July and will appear in Orlando in the coming months.
Planned as a multiyear initiative, the two organizations also launched O.U.R. Culture Project (Orlando Unbelievably Real Culture Project), to engage with Orlando residents and cultivate new methods to showcase pride in the Orlando region. Future activities will include the creation of a new symbol for Orlando and the installation of a permanent Orlando sign to become an interactive and iconic backdrop.
The first initiative in the O.U.R. Culture Project is focused on gathering images from those who know Orlando best: its residents. Starting today, Visit Orlando and Orlando Economic Partnership have launched The Unbelievably Real Sweepstakes, where locals upload images on what they feel is Unbelievably Real about Orlando for a chance to win an Unbelievably Real staycation. Entries must be received by May 31, 2022, at OrlandoUnbelievablyReal.com.
Secret Service Recovers $286M in Stolen Pandemic Loans
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Secret Service said Friday that it has recovered $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic loans and is returning the money to the Small Business Administration.
The Secret Service said an investigation initiated by its Orlando office found that alleged conspirators submitted Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications by using fake or stolen employment and personal information and used an online bank, Green Dot, to conceal and move their criminal proceeds.
The agency worked with Green Dot to identify roughly 15,000 accounts and seize $286 million connected to the accounts.
“This forfeiture effort and those to come are a direct and necessary response to the unprecedented size and scope of pandemic relief fraud,” said Kevin Chambers, director for COVID-19 fraud enforcement at the Justice Department.
Billions have been fraudulently claimed through various pandemic relief programs — including Paycheck Protection Program loans, unemployment insurance and others that were rolled out in the midst of the worldwide pandemic that shutdown global economies for months.
In March, the Government Accountability Office reported that while agencies were able to distribute COVID-19 relief funds quickly, “the tradeoff was that they did not have systems in place to prevent and identify payment errors and fraud” due in part to “financial management weaknesses.”
As a result, the GAO has recommended several measures for agencies to prevent pandemic program fraud in the future, including better reporting on their fraud risk management efforts.
Since 2020, the Secret Service initiated more than 3,850 pandemic related fraud investigations, seized over $1.4 billion in fraudulently obtained funds and helped to return $2.3 billion to state unemployment insurance programs.
The latest seizure included a collaboration of efforts between Secret Service, the SBA’s Inspector General, DOJ and other offices.
Hannibal “Mike” Ware, the Small Business Administration’s inspector general, said the joint investigations will continue “to ensure that taxpayer dollars obtained through fraudulent means will be returned to taxpayers and fraudsters involved face justice.”
Addition Financial, UCF Extend Naming Rights Agreement for Arena
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – UCF has extended its naming rights partnership with Addition Financial Credit Union for an additional dozen years—in the process continuing to identify Addition Financial Arena on the UCF campus as the Knights’ home for men’s and women’s basketball games and a variety of other events.
The new agreement is a 12-year, $20 million partnership that follows up the original naming rights pact signed by UCF and Additional Financial in 2013. The new deal takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.
The UCF Board of Trustees approved the name at its meeting this morning, and the full deal is expected to be approved Aug. 25 by the UCF Athletics Association.
“We’ve had a partnership with Addition Financial for nearly a decade, and we’re excited that Kevin Miller and the Addition Financial Board have agreed to extend our relationship for an additional 12 years,” says UCF vice president and athletics director Terry Mohajir. “This is a great new venture with outstanding community partners.
“Resources will be paramount as we transition into the Big 12 Conference a year from now, and Addition Financial will play a key role for us as we invest more resources to enhance our education and athletics missions!”
In 2013, Addition Financial was named the Official Financial Institution of the UCF Knights and is the exclusive credit union for UCF Athletics. Since that time, Addition Financial has partnered with UCF Athletics to provide scholarships, financial education workshops and other sponsorship support. Addition Financial is also the home of the official UCF Knights debit cards, with designs featuring the new Knight head and the Citronaut.
“Addition Financial is proud to continue our longstanding partnership with UCF Athletics and to align with Orlando’s hometown teams. Knight Nation has truly inspired us along their journey to the Big 12, and we look forward to embarking on that journey alongside them as we extend our partnership,” said Kevin Miller, Addition Financial president and CEO.
The 10,000-seat Addition Financial Arena has been home to the UCF men’s and women’s basketball programs since the start of their 2007-08 seasons. Located in the heart of Knights Plaza on the north side of campus, the state-of-the-art facility opened in the fall of 2007 and also hosts premiere concerts along with UCF commencement ceremonies.
JetBlue Agrees to Buy Spirit for $3.8 Billion
NEW YORK, N.Y. (AP) — JetBlue has agreed to buy Spirit Airlines for $3.8 billion in a deal that would create the nation’s fifth largest airline if approved by U.S. regulators.
The agreement Thursday comes a day after Spirit’s attempt to merge with Frontier Airlines fell apart. Spirit had recommended its shareholders approve a lower offer from Frontier, saying that antitrust regulators are more likely to reject the bid from JetBlue.
“This combination is an exciting opportunity to diversify and expand our network, add jobs and new possibilities for crewmembers, and expand our platform for profitable growth.” JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in a statement.
The combined airline, which will be based in New York and led by Hayes, would have a fleet of 458 aircraft. The airlines will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes.
JetBlue said Thursday that it would pay $33.50 per share in cash for Spirit, including a prepayment of $2.50 per share in cash payable once Spirit stockholders approve the transaction. There’s also a ticking fee of 10 cents per month starting in January 2023 through closing.
If the transaction is completed before December 2023, the deal will be for $33.50 per share, increasing over time to up to $34.15 per share, in the event the transaction closes at the outside date in July 2024.
If the deal doesn’t close due to antitrust reasons, JetBlue will pay Spirit a reverse break-up fee of $70 million and stockholders of Spirit a reverse break-up fee of $400 million less any amounts paid to stockholders of Spirit prior to termination.
News of the JetBlue and Spirit combination comes after weeks of Frontier and JetBlue tussling over who would ultimately get to add the budget airline to its arsenal. While Spirit initially struck a deal with Frontier and had stood by that proposed agreement, its shareholders were not on board. The decision by Spirit and Frontier to terminate their deal was announced Wednesday while Spirit shareholders were still voting on the proposal. It was apparent that despite the support of Spirit’s board, shareholders were prepared to reject the deal and seek a richer one from JetBlue.
JetBlue anticipates $600 million to $700 million in annual savings once the transaction is complete. Annual revenue for the combined company is anticipated to be about $11.9 billion, based on 2019 revenues.
JetBlue and Spirit will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes. Their respective loyalty programs remain unchanged and customer accounts will not be affected in any way.
The deal still needs the required regulatory approvals and approval from Spirit’s stockholders. The companies expect to conclude the regulatory process and close the transaction no later than the first half of 2024.
Spirit’s stock rose more than 4% before the market open, while shares of JetBlue were up slightly.