Ideaology Broadens Appeal of L.A. County Fair

LOS ANGELES Independent agency Ideaology has helped reverse flagging attendance at the annual Los Angeles County Fair—one of the largest of its kind in the country.

“Why preach to the converted?” asked Cary Sacks, president of the Venice, Calif., creative shop. While the fair’s in-house marketing department had focused on 4H members and Inland Empire families, Sacks’ plan was to reach “the Starbucks generation,” targeting ads at an “educated, affluent audience with more disposable income.”

The agency launched its first “Kinder. Simpler. Funner” campaign in 2000, positioning the fair as a “low-tech, high-carb antidote to the harsh plastic city.” The results are apparent: After nine years in decline, attendance topped 1.3 million in 2003, according to the Pomona Fairplex venue.

Ideaology’s advertising for the 82nd anniversary fair, Sept. 10 – 26, continues to poke fun at Los Angeles stereotypes via television, radio, print and outdoor messages. Media buys, mostly in L.A. and Orange Counties, are handled by Tact Communications of Hollywood, Calif.

Two 30-second TV spots are currently airing. “Cashmere Cow” reveals a gaggle of trendy L.A. teenagers trying on sweaters and questioning the animal origin of wool. The second, “Classroom,” shows a group of school kids insisting that cows produce “lattes” and “iced caramel mochaccitos.”

Outdoor work includes seven billboards that feature cuddly farm animals, including a cow with a gold nose ring, and punny captions like “Mooo Mooo meets Bling Bling.” On another board, a pink piggy overlooks the message, “Cotton candy & corndogs. We call it the Fatkins diet.”

Additional executions feature mouthwatering close-ups of buttery popcorn and candy apples.

“It’s fun, great work,” said Sacks. Although the fair’s estimated $2 million ad spend must stretch to cover everything from all marketing materials to Spanish-language radio and TV spots, there are plenty of perks: “I get all the unpasteurized milk I can drink,” he bragged.