Virginia is for Lovers

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The "Virginia is for Lovers" logo
Virginia's 2014 and current license plate
Virginia's 2015 and current Welcome Sign.

"Virginia is for Lovers" is the tourism and travel slogan of the U.S. commonwealth of Virginia. Used since 1969,[1] it has become a well-recognized and often imitated part of American jargon. In 2012, Advertising Age called "Virginia is for Lovers" "one of the most iconic ad campaigns in the past 50 years."[2]

A team led by David N. Martin and George Woltz of Martin and Woltz Inc. of Richmond, Virginia created the slogan[2][3] after winning the Virginia State Travel account in 1968. Originally, they had come up with history ads, "Virginia is for History Lovers"; beach ads, "Virginia is for Beach Lovers"; and mountain ads, "Virginia is for Mountain Lovers." This approach was eventually discarded as too limiting, and the qualifiers were dropped. Martin and Woltz Inc. eventually gained prominence and grew to become The Martin Agency. In 1969, the Virginia State Travel Service (now the Virginia Tourism Corporation) adopted the "Virginia is for Lovers" slogan and the first ad campaign using the tagline appeared in March 1969, in an issue of Modern Bride.[4]

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young reunion tour at Foreman Field, Old Dominion University, Norfolk VA, (August 17, 1974)
Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign used this variation on the phrase in some of its Virginia campaign materials

In 2009, "Virginia is for Lovers" was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame, a creation of Advertising Week, the largest collection of advertising, marketing and media professionals in North America. These inductees were also included in the Advertising Icon Museum. Also in 2009, "Virginia is for Lovers" was acknowledged as one of the top ten tourism marketing campaigns of all time by[4] In 2016, the Virginia Tourism Corporation began selling apparel with a rainbow-colored heart in the logo as part of a LGBT tourism promotion campaign.[5] The slogan began appearing on the state's license plates in 2014 and the state's welcome signs in 2015.

The slogan has been mentioned by a variety of artists over the years. American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks, recorded a song called "Virginia is for Lovers" in 2007, which was featured as a bonus track on her eponymous debut album. The slogan is mentioned in The Hold Steady song, "Killer Parties", and Willie Adler, guitarist for Lamb of God, has the slogan printed on the neck of his custom guitars. The slogan is also mentioned in the Kenny Chesney song, "Get Along."

There is a public perception that the 1968 design of the slogan is a response to the 1967 court ruling in Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage in the United States after an interracial couple were issued jail sentences for marrying in violation of Virginia law.[6] The ad agency which designed the slogan has denied intent to connect the slogan to that court case.[6]


  1. ^ "Virginia is for Lovers - Virginia Is For Lovers". Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  2. ^ a b Parekh, Rupal (2012-10-02). "Martin Agency Founder Dave Martin Passes Away at 82, Created 'Virginia Is for Lovers'". Advertising Age. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  3. ^ LLovio, Louis (2012-10-03). "David N. Martin, the Godfather of Richmond advertising, dies at 82". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
  4. ^ a b "Virginia is for Lovers". Retrieved 2016-06-29.
  5. ^ "Virginia rolls out push for LGBT tourism dollars". Daily Press. 23 September 2016. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
  6. ^ a b METRO CONNECTION (17 February 2012). "Is Virginia Really for Lovers?". WAMU.

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