Being Marge: Are They Serious?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Are They Serious?

Sometimes, when you have a serious business problem, a playful solution is most effective.

When I first spotted the billboards with the “Do It Downtown” campaign for downtown Wilmington, NC, my reaction was, “Are they serious?” The business owners downtown were completely serious when they adopted this marketing slogan, but they were smart to adopt a flirty image for their desired results.

What I read into the slogan was “Downtown is a Place to Play”. The campaign was sponsored by many downtown retail stores, galleries, theaters, restaurants, and tourist attractions – a strong collective of venues for unlimited fun. St. Charles, IL is another city that has adopted the same slogan. You can read lists of Things to Do in Downtown “X”, but that sort of message appeals to the head, while “Do it Downtown” appeals to the heart, at least to my heart!

Just that small twist to convert an important marketing campaign into a playful message has had huge ramifications for Downtown Wilmington, As a result of pulling people into the movement with a spirit of play, numerous committees have formed to enhance the campaign with a Web site, marketing materials, Downtown Ambassadors, a speakers’ bureau, education programs for downtown employees, and frequent town hall style meetings.

I don’t live or work in Downtown Wilmington, but I have always liked to play there and have enjoyed the river walk, restaurants, theater, shops, and general tourist hubbub. I found myself swept into the positive energy of the Do It Downtown campaign by joining the speakers’ bureau to help spread the word about all that Downtown Wilmington has to offer. The campaign work is actually play, which just emphasizes the overall fun times I associate with Downtown Wilmington.

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