The Village of Niles, north of Chicago, has not embraced the Internet revolution. In fact, in a classic case of David vs. Goliath, the suburb is fighting e-commerce to protect its sales tax base. The village has spent $35,000 for two TV spots that are running on local cable stations, urging viewers to shop in Niles, not online.
One is dubbed "Expert" and shows actress Angie Stavrianos in front of what look to be law books talking about the potential pitfalls of e-commerce--fraud, online theft and high fees among the warnings. A second spot was shot at a shopping center in the village, and has shoppers somewhat stiffly reciting why they prefer going to the stores to going online.
"I'm trying to communicate a message directly and somewhat forcefully," said Mike Yesner of Yesner Marketing, who created the spots. "We can't say, 'Shop retail so you can pay sales tax.' We can say, 'The bargain on the Internet may not be the bargain you think it is.' "
Yesner, who has consulted with Niles in the past, suggested the TV campaign to Mayor Nicolas B. Blase. Yesner said the ad idea has been sent to other municipalities who may also fear e-commerce's impact on their bottom line.