October 16, 2021

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Hampton Roads marketing campaign builds community buzz and fun around offshore wind

Some people refer to Wednesday as Hump Day but around Virginia Beach, many have gotten wind that it’s now referred to as WINDSday.

“We don’t get a new industry in this region very often,” Joel Rubin, CEO of Rubin Communications, said. “Here’s one that’s coming that I think we really need to understand, appreciate, take advantage of and let it really drive our culture.”

Well-versed in the market for 45 years, Rubin helped create the WINDSdays campaign to build awareness and enthusiasm for the power of wind, clean energy and a green environment in Virginia Beach and all of Hampton Roads. Rubin is part of the Virginia Beach Mayor’s Commission on Offshore Wind and Clean Energy, where the campaign originated, and was hired by Dominion Energy to help promote offshore wind in the region.

Dominion’s two test turbines are already in place about 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, and plans call for 176 more to be installed between 2024 and 2026. When completed, the 120,000-acre offshore wind farm will supply enough electricity to power approximately 650,000 homes in Virginia. Separately, Avangrid Renewables is planning another wind farm off Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, that will bring power ashore in Virginia Beach.

Rubin, who easily spends 30 hours each week on the WINDSdays effort, said it’s been one of the most uplifting projects. He said he thought it would be fun to have a designated day each week to generate programs, projects, concerts, and business specials so people would associate Wednesday with wind and the new industry.

“I enjoy approaching multiple businesses and brainstorming how they can customize a partnership,” he said.

Jeremy Slayton, spokesperson for Dominion Energy, confirmed Dominion is using Rubin Communications as a media consultant but declined to share the terms of the marketing agreement.

“I’m not the guy that’s promoting the whole project and such. I’m creating a day when people are thinking about it and having fun around it,” Rubin said. “Our WINDSday Warriors, which include commission members, loved it and have ‘caught the breeze’ too.”

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation’s Beach Events held Chalk the Walk with artists drawing the power of wind-themed artwork on the Boardwalk July 11. Ynot Wednesdays, a concert series partnership with Ynot Pizza and The Sandler Center Foundation, restarted as Ynot WINDSdays on July 21.

Rubin said the campaign has attracted more than 30 businesses and organizations as partners and the list continues to grow. Businesses display decals or marquee messages to show support. In turn, the businesses are also promoted in marketing materials.

WINDSday e-newsletters arrive in inboxes every Wednesday sharing news, events and stories of business partners and people working in the industry. The campaign also uses social media and windsdays.com. WINDSday Warriors, including Dominion Energy leaders, are supporters who are working to spread the word about the power of wind.

Restaurant partners are getting creative with wind-themed specials and signature drinks and sandwiches.

The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center added a variety of beverages to its Wednesday menu, including the Turbine-tini, Ocean Winds Shooter, Windy Buzz and Turbine Energy. Pleasure House Brewery sells Light as a Breeze, a slightly fruity blonde ale.

Zero’s Subs offers a WINDSdays tuna wrap. On Wednesdays, Rockafeller’s is selling 99 cents oysters Rockefeller and Dough Boy’s offers a discount on its BLT pizza.

George Kotarides, owner of Dough Boy’s and president of the Atlantic Avenue Association, said by pioneering offshore wind, Virginia Beach and the region will set itself apart as a “green mecca” and be poised for the future of green energy.

“By supporting clean, green efforts such as this, one day soon Virginia Beach will distinguish itself as a progressive, clean, green city that travelers will want to visit — not just because of its beautiful, wide beaches and amenities,” Kotarides said.

Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836, [email protected]

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