Asheville, N.C., asks tourists for TV spots

Most cities grovel like dogs before potential tourists. Asheville, N.C., prefers to put them to work. Asheville has set up a Web site called Any Way You Like It (which is the tagline of its current campaign), where it’s hosting a video contest to get tourists to submit their own TV spots about the city. The eventual winner will get $1,000 and (the best part) a “vacation getaway trip” to watch Asheville’s ad agency, Cramer-Krasselt in Orlando, Fla., produce the winning idea for a 2007 campaign. (This print ad here—“Stop and smell the cappuccino”—is from C-K’s current campaign.) An Asheville tourism rep explains the contest this way: “With the prevalence of mini DVs, digital cameras and even cell phones, who is in a better position to capture the unique, enriching, memorable moments in a vacation than the travelers themselves.” Not C-K, seems to be the implication there. Of course, no matter how the agency feels, there is one key benefit to having visitors create your tourism ads. When the locals bitch about your idiotic, tone-deaf creative choices (as they so often do), you can just blame the out-of-towners.

—Posted by Tim Nudd