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'Real Woodstock' marketing campaign aims to bring development, tourism to city

WOODSTOCK – Woodstock has real history, real charm and a real town Square.

That’s what John Harris, president of Chicago-based strategic communications firm a5, said helped inspired the city’s new tagline.

“Real Woodstock” will be the tagline used to promote community building, economic development and tourism in the city, Harris said.

Promote Woodstock, a public-private partnership funded by the city of Woodstock, started the city marketing campaign in 2014 when the Woodstock City Council decided to dedicate funds to drawing more people and businesses to Woodstock, council member Mike Turner said.

“We want to raise awareness of Woodstock as a great place to visit and to make people aware of the things we have in town that make us very unique,” Turner said.

The marketing plan includes a wide range of efforts ranging from traditional media, to digital media and social media, Turner said, and will eventually include advertising on the Metra and in Chicago.

The Facebook page and website for the campaign already have been launched.

The original plan was to work with Woodstock Celebrates Inc., the nonprofit that organized the Orson Welles’ Centennial Festival, Turner said.

However, Promote Woodstock decided not to use the Woodstock Celebrates Inc. tagline and logo after consulting with other media companies, Turner said.

The Promote Woodstock board works with a5 and is made up of council members Turner and Maureen Larson, Rodney Paglialong and Greg Ganter of Woodstock Celebrates Inc. and Tom Dougherty of Studio 2015 in Woodstock.

Their budget was $50,000 for fiscal 2014-15 and is $100,000 for the fiscal 2015-16, Turner said.

The city upheld its original agreement to give Woodstock Celebrates Inc. $15,000 in exchange for naming rights, but the money was used instead for the Orson Welles’ Centennial Festival, Turner said.

Monday night at Stage Left Cafe, Turner and Harris presented the marketing plan to about 50 people from area businesses including ones from Route 47, the Square and elsewhere, Turner said Tuesday.

The goal is to promote Woodstock as a whole, Turner said.

In the future there will be opportunity for businesses to purchase advertising packages and get additional benefits through a business co-op program, Harris said.

Harris said they wanted to “create a campaign that not only talks about the past and present, but it can grow over time as Woodstock develops.”

One thing Harris said would be “cool” down the road is if when people saw the name “Woodstock,” no matter where they were in the world, their first thought wouldn’t be the music festival in New York.

“If somebody says ‘I’m from Woodstock,’ we’d like them to think Woodstock, Illinois,” Harris said.

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