Small MN Town Vies for 2016 Summer Olympics

By Matt Van Hoven 

John Jarvis’s agency Giraffe first popped onto your radar about six months ago when he created a notable campaign piece for the city of Ely, MN, about a family company who is responsible for painstakingly painting every leaf during the fall color change. Before that he got the town in national news when he released an April Fools’ story stating Canada was in talks to buy the small border town and make it part of the land to the north. Now Jarvis’ Minneapolis shop has drummed up press by throwing Ely’s hat in the ring for the 2016 Summer Olympics. See the clip.

The Ely campaign, an effort to get people to visit the far-northern Minnesota town, is one of those on-going projects we can’t wait to see more of. To date it hasn’t even come close to annoying us and it’s actually been a pleasure to watch. Maybe that’s because at no point has the conversation turned to what we should buy or why it’s the best thing ever. What Jarvis has done is create that “ooh, another one of these!” feeling about the campaign by weaving simple stories that are fun to watch.


Some of you are without a doubt thinking this campaign is over simplified but as your on-the-street consumer voice, we aren’t thinking about that. We’re also not thinking about Brainerd, another northern Minnesota town of a somewhat similar nature. Ely’s out there in a way none of it’s local competitors are, and that’s what matters.

Click continued to see another press conference clip.

More: “An Interview with John Jarvis