I’m a broken record on this, a city such as Bridgeport must promote its assets, destination points, business successes. The strategy behind rolling out a campaign must also complement the creative presented to the public.
The city, in conjunction with the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, has financed a three-month marketing campaign with most of the dough dedicated to cable television. The city is investing $240K. The business community has raised $100K. To some this sounds like a lot of dough. In the big picture, it’s a modest investment. And it is an investment.
The city spends money on all kinds of crap, including millions through the years on lawyers for a variety of idiotic cases. That’s another story.
The city/business community hired two accomplished firms for this effort, Westport-based Turbine Creative www.turbineboost.com/ and Bridgeport-based Bob Abbate Marketing www.bobabbatemarketing.com aka BAM.
Turbine, led by Jeff Vogt, is the agency that created a public relations panic (the good kind) early this year hoisting a mannequin in pajamas and a teddy bear atop an I-95 billboard on behalf of BMW of Bridgeport. Jesus, callers dialing 911 proclaimed, what are they doing up there? Ah, it was all part of the BMW campaign, we’ll let you sleep with one of our cars for a night.
Turbine and Abbate aren’t cheap, but those guys over there are very good. Turbine produced a spot for BMW that is outstanding. “It’s Better In Bridgeport.” They did not proclaim the city a Shangri-La. They said it’s gotten better. The message was realistic, we need to make consumers comfortable coming here. The spot Turbine produced for the city is well done. I would not have started the campaign as presented, however. I say you must kick out local success stories focused on issues and regular folks who do business here. Let them look into the camera to share their story. After that you bring in the elegant feel-good stuff. This campaign, however, didn’t have that luxury because the budget wasn’t large enough. But guess what, The Connecticut Post placed the campaign on the front page and little OIB has highlighted it, as well as www.ctcapitolreport.com which gets a reservoir of traffic from around the state. We call that residual impact. The purpose of the campaign is to make the city more inviting to visitors, redefine city perceptions while making residents feel good about their city.
The mayor flyfishing the Pequonnock River? He’s been doing that for 25 years. He can spit to the river from his home on Crown Street. When Bill was a member of the City Council and then the State Senate we fished the river together many times. Last month I helped my stepdaughter Kaitlin move into 881 The Lofts on Lafayette Boulevard directly across from Housatonic Community College. 881 The Lofts is a gem loaded with young professionals who commute to Manhattan from the downtown train station just blocks away. Many of the attractions featured in the Turbine spot are within easy walking distance such as Two Boots, Épernay, Barnum Museum, ballpark and arena.
City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh is sharpening his teeth with Freedom of Information requests in an effort to analyze the selection process. Troll is upset that the City Council was not part of the vendor-approval process. The city said let’s give the marketing dough to the BRBC, we’ll issue request for proposals, review the presentations and make selections that way. The council was cut out. I don’t know if the city’s on the side of the angels, bypassing council, as it pertains to a sharing of costs. This is also the council that approved a contract with the promoter of The Gathering of the Vibes that provides VIP treatment to council members worth hundreds of dollars.
Troll is doing what Troll does best serving as a watchdog, a big pain in the ass, raising questions when the council gets cut out of stuff. The city, meanwhile, is promoting its assets. It’s been a long time coming.
From Mayor Finch:
55 Firearms Turned in on Second Day of Gun Buyback Program
City and Law Enforcement Officials Urge More Residents to Trade in Firearms; More Donations Needed to Extend Buyback Program
At the end of only its second day, the gun buyback program, a joint effort between the Bridgeport Police Department and the Bridgeport Housing Authority, has already netted 55 firearms.
Mayor Bill Finch along with Acting Police Chief Joseph Gaudett Jr. and Bridgeport Housing Authority Executive Director Nicholas Calace kicked off the program on the Sept. 2, and by day’s end, 12 firearms had been collected in exchange for gift cards to local grocery stores. That number climbed steadily on Friday, and by 4 p.m., 55 firearms – 18 rifles and 37 pistols – had been collected and only $1,000 in gift cards remained.
“This program provides incentives for people with unused and/or unregistered firearms to trade them in for gift cards—no questions asked. One gun off the street is one less gun that could potentially fall into the wrong hands” said Mayor Finch.
“We at the Housing Authority are very pleased Mayor Finch and Chief Gaudett’s Gun Buyback program is starting to work. We understand how vital it was to get this program started with the initial seed money,” said Calace. The Bridgeport Housing Authority kick- started the program with $5,000, which was used to purchase the gift cards.
“I urge our local business owners and corporations to contribute to the gun buyback program so that we can continue to keep our streets safe and free from illegal guns. Our police department is doing a great job but we need everyone’s help to accomplish this goal,” added Mayor Finch.
“More than turning in a gun and receiving a gift certificate to buy food, it is our hope that residents participating in this program will see they play a critical role in making our neighborhoods safer for everyone,” Calace added.
Residents can bring their unloaded firearms to the Community Services Division at 1395 Sylvan Ave., no questions asked. Pistols are generally worth $50 in gift cards and rifles can be traded in for $100 to $150 in gift cards based on their condition. The Community Services Division will accept unloaded firearms from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
More donations are needed to continue the program. Local businesses and corporations interested in donating gift cards can call Lt. David Daniels at 203-576-8278.