All Aboard Florida releases TV ad calling for letters of support

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All Aboard Florida has begun airing 30-second television commercials in communities along its planned route, with the goal of having residents write letters of support for the proposed passenger rail service.

The media push is part of an ongoing public education campaign, according to company representatives.

The commercial, which began airing last week, comes after opponents to the train service produced its own TV ads critical of the project, reports Jennifer Sorentrue of the Palm Beach Post.

All Aboard Florida issued a bulk email on Wednesday requesting recipients to visit a website allowing them to submit endorsement letters to local officials.

“As the project progresses, it is important for governmental entities and elected officials to hear your supportive voice,” said the email.

Opponents say the new advertising is proof the efforts to stop the project are working.

“They would not be spending all of this money on all these ad campaigns if it was a done deal,” said Florida NOT All Aboard founder K.C. Traylor. “It gives us more confidence than ever that what we are doing is working and that public outcry can change the course of the project.”

In a statement on Thursday to The Palm Beach Post, All Aboard Florida insists the commercial is to highlight features and benefits of the rail service.

“We have found that when people gain understanding of what this project will offer residents and tourists alike, they are widely supportive of All Aboard Florida,” said chief marketing officer Julie Edwards in the Post statement.

Invoking Henry Flagler’s historic railway, the commercial promises to connect Miami and Orlando without “taxpayer grants or giveaways.” Black and white images of antique-style trains cuts to an interpretation of a contemporary train stations for All Aboard Florida.

“For the past 100 years Henry Flagler’s train has moved Florida, and now Flagler’s company is doing it again with express passenger rail connecting Orlando and Miami,” the narrator says.

In addition, there is footage of grandparents riding a contemporary train with their grandchildren, as well as images of the downtown skyline and construction crews.

“Millions of cars will be taken off our congested roadways, preserving our environment creating tens of thousands of jobs on the safest railroad in America,” the ad continues. “Flagler dreamed big, and we are just getting started.”

The commercial has nearly 950 views times since posting to YouTube on July 22.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.