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.
Natalie Cilurzo, co-owner of Russian River Brewing Company, said she and her husband Vinnie have long preached the natural affinity between the wine and beer industries. The couple has plenty of beer-drinking friends in the wine industry and the brewery even makes a limited release called "It takes a lot of great beer to make great wine."
The idea that the brewery is successful enough to have Santa Rosa tourism officials taking notice is heartening, she said.
"It looks like us little breweries are making a name for ourselves," Cilurzo said.
The series was generated by a local agency called The Idea Cooperative and cost the city $24,000. The money came from the city's portion of bed taxes collected from city hotels in the business improvement area. Santa Rosa will spend about $90,000 this year in media purchases for the ads.
The agency worked closely with city staff to review a large volume of tourism market research, including studies the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce used in the 2007 marketing effort that led to the selection of "California Cornucopia" as the slogan used by the Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"This is a completely different thing from what we've done in the past," de la Rosa said. "It broadens what people expect out of Wine Country."
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