"This is what Atlantic City should have done years ago to promote the city. I think everyone was waiting for it to become like Vegas, and nobody knows that it actually has."
- Philadelphia social scene blogger HughE Dillon, on the Atlantic City Alliance's "Do AC Nightclub on Wheels"
"I love A.C. ... If I had more money, I'd be down all the time."
- Erin MacCausland, a Drexel University student
Wow. That's certainly nice to hear.
Jeff Guaracino, chief strategist for the Atlantic City Alliance, says the "Do AC Nightclub on Wheels" - a tricked-out party bus that picks up young people in Philadelphia and brings them to Atlantic City for a free night of clubbing in the casinos and at other spots - is a "home run."
If those two comments above are any indication, he's right.
The alliance's bus is targeted to young people, who are selected through radio contests or recruited by coordinators. The bus - which has a small dance floor, a DJ and free champagne - picks up revelers in Philadelphia, takes them to A.C. and then returns them to Philly (with pizza from Tony's Baltimore Grill for the trip home).
In return, only one thing is asked of the happy clubbers. As bus DJ Nigel Richards put it one recent night, "Social media the crap out of this."
The goal is word-of-mouth advertising via posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
"We can buy a commercial and tell people it's great all we want, but people don't trust that. This is the real world, and we have real people saying, 'Hey, we like nightlife in Atlantic City,'" Guaracino said.
It's a great concept, and the alliance is considering expanding it to New York City or Baltimore.
The alliance certainly deserves praise for coming up with this idea. And while it is obviously valuable in bringing people to the city, it also serves another purpose, in our opinion:
It is a reminder, amid all the doom and gloom about declining casino revenue and Atlantic City's fortunes, that the resort really can be a fun place for a lot of people. The trick is to identify and reach out to those people - and that's just what the "Do AC Nightclub on Wheels" accomplishes.
Atlantic City, it was said during the resort's heyday, was built on "ocean and promotion." The ocean is a hard sell in March. But this "Do AC" bus is an updated example of the kind of creative, fun promotion that worked so well in the old days.