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New Santa Rosa marketing campaign highlights city's cycling, culture, beer

  • Patrick Siegrist, visiting from Minnesota, enjoys a beer on the patio of the Russian River Brewing Company, in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

The goal is to reach out to potential visitors in those cities who are aged 25 to 44 and "independent thinkers who enjoy finding new or undiscovered experiences or venues," explained Raissa de la Rosa, Santa Rosa's economic development specialist.

"Because we are so different from the rest of Sonoma County ... we were really looking to differentiate ourselves from just being Wine Country," de la Rosa said.

The first phase of the new campaign began running earlier this month in movie theaters in those cities and on Internet streaming music service Pandora. Other cities and media may be added later.

The three ads feature a series of still images around a theme, ending with the catch-phrase "Out there. In the middle of everything."

One ad shows images of wine glasses, wooden barrels and bucolic vineyards followed by shots of the city's two downtown brew pubs, Third Street Ale Works and Russian River Brewing Company. It's called "Where Wine Country meets Beer City."

While it may seem a stretch to call a city with two brew pubs "Beer City," de la Rosa said there is no doubt that the Russian River Brewing Company, especially when it is featuring its limited release beers like the hyper-hoppy Pliny the Younger, draws tourists from around the globe.

"We have recognized that we are a destination point around beer," de la Rosa said.

Another ad shows images of bicyclists pedaling along a scenic Sonoma County road and through historic Railroad Square, followed by the phrase "Where touring doesn't make you a tourist."

The success of the Amgen Tour of California, Levi's GranFondo and other popular local club rides clearly drives tourism dollars to the community, as well-heeled travelers often stay for several days, she said.

The third video shows images of costumed revelers watching or participating in the handcar races held in Railroad Square in recent years, including two men pedaling a couch and another wearing a pair of massive sheep horns. "Where you can be a little strange. Just don't be a stranger," the ad reads.

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