From its pristine beaches to amazing sunsets, visitors have thought of Tampa as a tropical paradise ever since the Spaniards landed, took off their helmets, and traded in their boots for sandals and Cuban-rolled cigars. (That theory sounds viable to us, anyway.)
Perhaps if Ponce de Leon had been looking for the Fountain of Interactive, instead of the Fountain of Youth, he might have stayed here, enjoying the good life.
So, is Tampa a good place for interactives to set up shop and ride off into the digital sunset? For that answer we asked our super agent Coral Ramirez for the virtual tour.
It’s the next stop on our Vitamin T Global Office Tour!
Vitamin T: What do you love most about your city?
Coral: Being an island girl, I love the fact that some of the country's most beautiful beaches are just a half hour drive away. It's beach bum's paradise! I also love the diversity here, thanks to its rich Cuban/Italian/Spanish heritage.
Tampa boasts some of the most unique and beautiful neighborhoods and architecture. Just driving around the old neighborhoods, shaded by live oaks and dripping Spanish moss, is a great Sunday afternoon experience!
And of course there's the food, outside of Miami, there's no place in the US to find better Cuban/Latin food.
For sports fans, we have three major professional sports teams: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Each team has won at least one major title. Woo hoo!
There's also an odd mystique about Tampa. It's rumored to have been a favorite with pirates back in the day and holds the dubious honor of having been one of the country's most active Mafia cities.
Why is it a great place for interactive talent?
Coral: Tampa serves as headquarters to many large corporations, such as Raymond James Financial, The Home Shopping Network, and MetLife. The city had a rich advertising community, but it suffered tremendously in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Many established agencies folded, but many switched gears and fully embraced the digital advertising movement.
That's good news for interactive talent! The agencies that survived the crisis need talent who are digitally savvy, up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies, and well versed in how to achieve big victories in the interactive world.
Corporations in town are also adding interactive talent to their ranks to stay competitive.
What advice would you have for talent moving to your city?
- Do your research! Tampa is beautiful and fun, but beware: sunshine does not pay the bills. The market can be tough and the competition fierce!
- Try to live close to work. Tampa has some of the worst traffic in the state (But, hey, it may be better than the city you're coming from!)
- Try to learn some Spanish! Latinos make up the largest minority group here. Not only will it will make ordering your café con leche a lot more fun, it may help land your next gig!
What are some great networking orgs to connect with?
- American Advertising Foundation (AAF) - Tampa
- We Are Tampa Bay (a great aggregator of local creative groups)
- IXDA Tampa
- Women in Networking
- Ad 2 Tampa Bay
- Tampa Mashable Community
- Tampa Bay Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- South Tampa Chamber of Commerce
What are some of the hottest agencies in your city?
- Triad Retail Media - Interactive talent heaven! This agency creates, manages and operates online media programs for leading retail e-commerce websites, delivering innovative, custom digital ad campaign opportunities to national brands. Their client roster includes Walmart, Sam's Club, eBay, and CVS, among many others.
- 22squared - This agency has several long-standing Fortune 500 clients as well as a collection of travel, retail, casual dining, and financial services clients
- FKQ - They’ve operated in Tampa Bay for over 47 years and are one of the most recognizable agencies in town. With clients like McDonald's, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Dollar Rent A Car, FKQ has made a name for itself in the market for sharp marketing and fresh, outside-the-box advertising concepts.
What odd factoids can you share about the city that newcomers wouldn't know?
Coral: Tampa's version of Mardi Gras is the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. Dating back to 1904, this elaborate celebration is made up of Krewes and their parade floats. Decked out in their best pirate garb, Krewes celebrate the "invasion" of Tampa by "Jose Gaspar," supposedly a Spanish pirate captain who operated in Southwest Florida. Whether he existed or not is not of importance, around 300,000 people show up to the event every year!
La Teresita is without a doubt, the city's BEST Cuban restaurant. Nestled in West Tampa, La Teresita is open 24/7 and features amazing Cuban family style food at very affordable prices!
Tampa was once THE cigar capital of the United States!
Does Tampa sound up your alley? If you’re looking to learn more about living and working there, be sure to connect with our Tampa team to get the FULL local scoop!