Boston Transit Campaign Touts North Adams Getaways

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Using the tagline 'Uncover the unexpected,' the transit campaign focuses on the city's arts scene, history, culture and natural resources.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Riders on the T are getting an eyeful of North Adams.

The Berkshire Visitors Bureau is running the transit campaign through the end of February to induce Bostonians to consider the Steeple City as a weekend getaway.

The campaign is being funded by a $41,000 grant from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, provided from its stabilization fund for distressed communities. The BVB applied for the grant citing the impact of the North Adams Regional Hospital closure and the loss of jobs. Another $5,000 grant will be used for direct email marketing through Boston Traveler.

Joshua Field, who designed the oversize graphic posters adorning stations throughout the Hub, explained the campaign to the North Adams Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday night at the Freight Yard Pub.

"The notion was to try to focus on a younger, Boston-based demographic," he said. "To try to reach people who would not necessarily be coming here during the winter — we all know that winter is a tough time for us economically — so to try to drive traffic here that wouldn't come here otherwise."

Input from Mayor Richard Alcombright, the city's Office of Tourism, the chamber and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art led to an advertising scheme describing a duality of experiences: Art & Adventure, Culture & Nature, Creativity & History.

The idea, said Field, was to get away from being known as just "a city with a big museum."

Not that the big museum isn't featured prominently in the ad campaign — but as a complementary feature to the city's other aspects, such as this winter's major snocross racing.

The target audience is young, possibly families with children, professional, affluent and able to get away for an overnight trip a few hours away. They're fashion conscious, attracted to brands and looking for an alternative to skiing, said Field.

"It was funny, I was at Mass MoCA recently and I saw these people," he said. "We're trying to reach these folks who are affluent."

The campaign will include graphics that local businesses can use on their websites and Facebook pages, to promote branding, and a website that will link with local calendars and sites to engage people.

"It's really wonderful," said Alcombright. "We've been involved in this from the beginning."

The mayor said there was a tendency in Berkshire County to think north and south, but the focus should shift east and west.

You're not going to be able avoid seeing these.

                  — Joshua Field

"We need start focusing on the Boston market, the Albany market to try to bring people here."

He pointed to the recent $145 million renovation of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown and the upcoming $60 million investment in Mass MoCA.

"We are way more than that little city to visit to drive through to get somewhere else ... we are clearly a destination now."

It's also critical to get those people arriving at the destination to stay overnight, which cultural leaders says magnifies their spending more.

To help in that regard, the chamber is holding a weekend getaway drawing. Chamber coordinator Ricco Fruscio said the winning couple will get two nights at the Porches, dinner at Freight Yard Pub and Desperados, and a weekend pass at MoCA.

"Local businesses are really stepping up," he said, soliciting proprietors at the presentation to consider coupons or other inducements for a gift basket. "Something that might get them to walk around town a little bit more."

Field said the Boston campaign should leave a lasting impression.

"You're not going to be able avoid seeing these," he said of the wall-size posters.

"When somebody sees that image repeatedly ... they're going to start to formulate an idea about North Adams so even if we don't get them over the course of the winter when summer rolls around... they're going to remember that North Adams has all these interesting aspects."

Tags: advertising,   Boston,   BVB,   chamber of commerce,   

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