MBACC spends $51 million annually in taxes promoting a weak brand

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David Hucks
David Hucks
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at

Last night Horry County Council met to discuss sending accommodation taxes to the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

Several key councilmen were notably absent as the vote was taken, including Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner.

The measure passed, but not without a complaint from one Myrtle Beach city resident. Her comments can be heard in the video below.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce receives between $51 million and $54 million in tax grants annually. The “not for profit” is responsible for promoting the City of Myrtle Beach and the greater Grand Strand.

A group of residents on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Making our city affordable, safe, clean & fun often dialogue about the wisdom of spending those monies in light of the current Myrtle Beach City Brand.

Few would dispute that the City of Myrtle Beach currently has a brand image problem. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has worked to navigate around those issues by marketing the area “The Beach” instead of Myrtle Beach.


In August 2022, a viral TikTok video submitted by Kelly Bruce and her two friends racked up more than six million views and more than 360,000 negative comments.

Bruce was on vacation in Myrtle Beach, staying at the Sea Mist Resort. The video displays mold in the rooms as well as cock roaches crawling about. The viral video then became a news item shared with multiple national news organizations.

Is it wise to spend $51 million in marketing on a suspect brand?

The Difference Between Marketing and Brand Management Explained, resident complains of tax dollars wasted.

Does the City of Myrtle Beach have a poor brand?

T.E. Digital points out 3 key signs of a poor brand.

Three signs of a bad brand

If you believe your service or product is great for your target audience, but you’re just not getting a response, here are some common issues to consider:

Outdated brand: If the buzz about your business has faded and now you’re not getting the same kind of attention, consider when you established your brand. It could be stale and boring by today’s standards.

Note that it’s not unusual for a business with a long track record to outgrow its brand. Simple things like company name or color scheme can drag you down and make the brand appear dated. After more than 60 years,  Dunkin’ Donuts realized how important it is to stay fresh.

The City of Myrtle Beach brand peaked in 1967. While the city is spending millions in redevelopment, streets like Yaupon, Chester, and Flagg are filled with homeless people, drug dealers, and gun fights. The public is keenly aware of this as can be seen on social media and through trip advisor reviews. The word is out on the Myrtle Beach brand and much of it is negative at this time.

Being reactive: If your brand changes to keep pace whenever the competition makes a move, or you simply follow something new in the marketplace, you are being reactive. This signals a bad brand because it takes you away from your original intent. It’s also likely that your brand now confuses the consumer. Your target audience needs to immediately understand what you are offering and how your product or service benefits them. If they have to guess because you are ever changing, you need to rebrand to better align with your values, which may have changed over time, to meet your customer’s expectations.

Changing the brand name from Myrtle Beach to “The Beach” feels more like a marketing ploy than a real brand initiative.

Damaged reputation: Take note if your brand is being viewed in a negative light by consumers. This can happen for many different reasons including, poor customer service, bad reviews, failure to live up to expectations, dishonesty, corporate controversy, or outside factors in the public sphere that reflect badly on your brand.

Dated hotels, high crime, negative viral videos, beach contamination issues, drug deals, and a high homeless population have led to a damaged reputation for the City of Myrtle Beach.


Supporters of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce swept Horry County Council election primaries in June 2022, except for the re-election of Chairman Johnny Gardner.

What the “not for profit” lacks in brand traction, it more than makes up for politically.

The measure passed last night. Those councilmen would have committed political suicide to vote otherwise.

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