Indians balk at Louisville promo

March 31, 2009
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Update: The Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau apparently isn't giving up yet on marketing to Indianapolis residents. This afternoon, LCVB said they still plan to bring their motor coach to Indianapolis on April 14 to try to lure locals to the Bluegrass state with give-aways, coupoons and the opportunity to win a free trip to the Kentucky Derby. At this point, they are merely trying to work out an exact time and place. It will not be at Victory Field, as previously announced. Officials with LCVB's marketing firm, Bandy Carroll Hellige, said they hope to have an announcement later this week, possibly as early as Thursday. 

vicfieldA deal between the Indianapolis Indians and Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau has been scuttled. The cancellation comes less than a week after Louisville officials’ efforts to beam their promotional message on downtown Indianapolis buildings during the NCAA regional here was stifled. Indianapolis city officials said the promotion during the NCAA games was halted because Louisville officials failed to secure the proper permits.

The reasons why the Indians promotion was cancelled were less clear. A spokeswoman for the LCVB said she didn’t know why the promotion was halted, and a call to LCVB CEO Jim Wood went unanswered this morning.

Louisville tourism officials planned to bring in a 45-foot motor coach to the April 14 Indians game to spread their message, host a huge tailgate party and give away discounts for numerous Louisville area attractions and other freebies and also registering people to win a pair of tickets to this year’s Kentucky Derby. The theme of the promotional campaign was going to be that Louisville is an ideal location for nearby spring and summer getaways during this challenging economy.

“After considering the promotional opportunity [with the LCVB], we felt our relationship with the [Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association] was more important in the long-run than what this promotion would do in the short-term,” said Cal Burleson, Indians vice president and general manager. “We just didn’t think it was something we should move forward with, especially in light of what happened with the NCAA basketball regional. We want to be a good corporate citizen here in Indianapolis.”

No word on if Louisville tourism folks will make other attempts to reach Indianapolis area residents and businesses with their message, but an April 25 event in Evansville will go on as planned.
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  • Maybe it has a little something to do with the way Mr. Bowden stole the Red's farm club away from Indy and sent it to Lullvull, still a dark day to this day for me.
  • Old Leatherpants.
  • Aw man, now how am I gonna win Derby tickets?
  • A border war, very nice. And with the benevolent ICVA coming in to fight the battle. Isn't Louisville's tactic fairly commonplace. Afterall, the ICVA has advertised in Chicago and other out-of-state markets.
  • The comment from Travis is correct. Cities advertise in other cities all the time... Indianapolis residents travel to a variety of drive markets including Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus and yes Louisville as well as others. Indianapolis residents represent our second largest visitor segment traveling to Louisville. Our spring leisure campaign is taking us to nine cities offering significant discounts on hotels, attractions and restaurants. In these tight economic times I am fairly confident that most residents in Indianapolis would appreciate a deep discount on a weekend getaway. We are doing our best to try to stimulate our local economy through tourism and we are doing our best to try to keep our housekeepers, cooks, bellman, food servers, cashiers and other hospitality employees employed. I would strongly recommend that other cities take on the same tactic as I believe Louisville residents would appreciate receiving travel discounts from other cities as well.
  • Yes Jim - that is correct, Indy advertises, L-Ville advertises, Chicago etc., but most residents see these advertisements in true ad spaces - such as Indianapolis Monthly, Indy Star website, brochures, hotel flyers, websites, billboards, commercials. Not on the sides of the buildings and with huge MotorCoaches. That just annoys the local residents and actually creates more tension between the cities. Stick to the traditional methods of advertising and you might get some more Indianapolis residents. We've worked hard to build what we have in this city - and trust me, our business, corporate sponsors, and associations will not sit back and let you tear those residents away from us!
  • FYI - The Hawai'i Marriott Hotel(s) group are conducting the same program - they have a bus which has begun in San Diego and istraversing the west coast all the way to Seattle stopping at all major cities along the way visiting potential future visitors and offering special discounts for Hawai'i vacations..... People have been excited to see them and hear about the special offers they are offering. One other note: Marketers are looking beyond traditional methods of advertising to reach their audiences.
  • Jim:
    And I suspect you're not Jim, but someone writing in his name.
    A) Louisville is no Hawaii.
    B) Louisville is no Indy, lagging years behind in downtown development. Your convention center is located miles from downtown ... love those shuttle buses. You lack the convenience of Indy. Your attractions are far flung. You do not have a facility capable of hosting such mega-events as Final Fours or a Super Bowl. You're still basically a one-event town. Indy has moved far beyond that.
    C) There possibly has never been worse execution of a guerilla marketing campaign than last week's misfire in Indy ... failing to get the proper permits, eventually canceling the effort altogether. That wasn't just egg on your face. It was an omelet.
  • I find it funny that Jim Wood would not answer calls about this blog when called on Tuesday morning (as noted in the blog post) yet Jim or someone posting for Jim is sure posting up a storm now. These are the days of a much more instant media with the internet and news blogs.
  • Hazel, I have to admit, I was a little curious about that myself. Why Mr. Wood wouldn't call me back yesterday, but instead chose to post his message under our comment section. I am glad he at least let his thoughts be known. I will take the poster at his word that he is in fact who he says he is until I get a complaint from the LCVB (or their ad agency) that these posts were not actually made by Mr. Wood. As always, thanks for reading.
  • I propose a new marketing campaign in Louisville:

    Indianapolis - Everything Louisville Isn't
    Come Visit Today!
  • Ouch and Touche, IndyFan. Touche indeed.
  • Louisville has 2 convention centers. The Kentucky International Convention Center is located in the heart of downtown Louisville connected to hotels and an entertainment district. The Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) is located 6 miles from downtown next to the airport and the University of Louisville and is our nations 7th largest convention center in the country. KEC hosts 6 of our nations 30 largest trage shows annually. We compete w/ Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas annually for trade show business. We cannot host the Super Bowl because we do not have an NFL team (and neither can Los Angeles for the same reason).....We cannot host a Final Four because we do not have an indoor football stadium. Congratulations for hosting both events by the way. We are building a 22,000 seat arena which is scheduled to open November 1, 2010 downtown Louisville. We will be able to host many events once the new arena is open. The Louisville road show promotion that has been discussed is a leisure campaign as previously mentioned. I would imagine everyone who has commented has driven somewhere else for a weekend getaway at some point in time in your life. This is what we are promoting, a driveable weekend getaway. I would suspect many families in Indy have enjoyed a day at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom; or a day at the zoo; or visitng a city that has three one-of-a-kind sports museums. If you haven't then make the trip down sometime. You'll be glad you did. Should folks in Indy decide to come down to promote Indy as a weekend getaway we'll be happy to help assist with the logistics. Thanks
  • I will say one thing. The city's AAA baseball facility is a very nice place to watch a game. And they are in fact the farm team of my beloved Reds. Also, I don't love chain restaurants, but the Joe's Crab Shack in Louisville, with a deck overlooking the river, is an excellent place to take in a meal and watch the river boats go by.

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  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

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  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

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