Message to Ex-Midlanders: Come Home

DALLAS Midland, Texas, is the former hometown of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. But they’re not among the ex-patriots Midlanders are urging to “come home” in a humorous campaign created by Door Number 3.

Using a dedicated Web site, www.comehometomidland.com, the Austin, Texas, agency created “webisodes” in which Midlanders plead with their friends and loved ones to come back from the big city and enjoy the slower pace of life in West Texas.

The campaign was designed for the Midland Development Corporation as a business recruiting effort. Known as the oil capital of West Texas, Midland and neighboring Odessa are famous for their dedication to high school football as depicted in the movie Friday Night Lights.

In Midland, George and Laura Bush grew up, met and married. But Midland College was recently rejected in its attempt to team up with Texas Tech University as co-hosts to the Bush Library to be built when his term in office ends.

The city, however, has not given up on other former residents, according to the campaign.

In the Web videos, Midlanders hand out fliers in the downtown areas of Houston, Dallas and Austin that feature pictures of “long lost” harried workers. Accompanying copy gives their height, weight and clues such as: “recently spotted eating a microwave sausage biscuit while stuck in gridlock traffic on a Dallas toll road.”

“Being the underdog, we knew the messaging had to be noisy,” said Prentice Howe, Door Number 3 creative director. “The campaign makes people pause and, hopefully, evokes a smile. But for those trapped by the grind and wanting something different out of life, it acts as a heavy dose of forced introspection.”

Bryan Keplesky served as art director on the campaign, with photographer Randal Ford and director Steve Mims, the agency said.

Door Number 3 is an 11-year-old independent shop.