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City's marketing campaign urges visitors to bring their boots

By ALLISON MILES
April 6, 2010 at 6:03 p.m.
Updated April 6, 2010 at 11:07 p.m.


Campaign highlights:

Advertisements in Texas Monthly

Billboards in Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and other metropolitan areas

Annual Bootfest, beginning in 2011

Annual Dance Across Victoria event

Updated Web site at www. VisitVictoriaTexas. com

Victoria's signature Lucchese boot style (not pictured)

Headed to Victoria? Bring your boots.

That's the message the Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau hopes will stay with people and draw them to town, said Bridgette Bise, the bureau's executive director.

"Anything can be done in Victoria and can be done in a pair of boots," she said, noting activities such as visiting the zoo and attending the symphony. "Any boots."

Bise presented plans for the city's upcoming marketing campaign at the Victoria Economic Development Corporation's Victoria Partnership meeting.

And the underlying concept behind the campaign? Boots.

The footwear symbolizes comfort, friendliness and history, she said, all aspects of the City of Victoria would like to promote.

"They're a sign of hard work, but they're also a sign of fun," she said.

Inspiration for the concept came from the question-and-answer portion of a branding study the Victoria Chamber of Commerce unveiled in late June, said Janell McPhail, who owns Jetmarketing and Advertising, the company behind the campaign.

"At first, we came up with 'If your boots could talk, what would they say about you?'" she said. "It evolved into this."

The marketing campaign includes monthly advertisements in Texas Monthly that boast boot-clad people checking into hotels, along with information about upcoming events in the city.

In July, for instance, the scene shows golfers checking in, along with information about the NGA Hooters Golf Tour Victoria. September's ad includes a group of hunters checking in with their dog, as well as information about dove and bow hunting season.

Billboards will also dot the state's metropolitan areas.

Other plans include implementing an annual Bootfest in 2011. The event, similar in concept to the Armadillo Festival the city boasted years ago, will include live music, food, games and should draw thousands to the area, she said.

Another annual event, Dance Across Victoria, will also come into the mix, she said, and Victoria will have its own signature style of Lucchese boots, available at local Western wear stores and boutiques.

The boots would make a nice gift to give to potential businesses coming to the area, Bise said, and University of Houston-Victoria personnel have expressed interest in creating boots to present students who obtain 4.0 GPAs. The plan is to eventually construct boot statues throughout town, outside businesses and the like.

Jill Kidd, who has lived in Victoria for about a year, said she'd never heard of some of the events featured in the advertisements. The campaign is a good way to get word out there, she said.

"I think it's great for the future of Victoria," said Kidd, events sales manager at Incredible Pizza. "It's something people will really enjoy."

Eventually, the plan will result in added sales tax revenue, spending money and heads in beds, said Adrian Cannady, vice president of marketing for the Victoria Economic Development Corporation.

The campaign goes hand-in-hand with on-going construction projects throughout town, he added.

It does no good to spend money on sidewalks and downtown revitalization if no one comes to town, he said, and it also makes no sense to market a town that isn't prepared from an infrastructure and quality of life standpoint.

"It all works together to make a better Victoria," Cannady said.

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