Claremont Insider: Shop Claremont

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shop Claremont

Claremont's PR machine grinds on.

The city of Claremont in partnership with the Claremont Chamber of Commerce invested $84,000 a couple months ago in a print and TV advertising campaign to draw customers to the new Village Expansion.

Some of the older and non-Village businesses have felt the ads focused too much on the Village Expansion and didn't benefit Claremont as a whole, so they started their own business-owners group, the Claremont Merchants Association.

A number of our readers wrote it questioning the ad campaign as vapid and déclassé. They seemed to feel that the ads didn't really encompass the Claremont that they knew and loved, a Claremont that is rapidly and vapidly disappearing.

Quite independently of the Chamber PR effort, the San Francisco Chronicle picked up an article, written "Special to the Chronicle," that ran in the paper's January 6th travel section.

The Chronicle article, written by Claremont-based freelance writer Vanessa Hua, seemed as if it were commissioned by the Chamber and was pretty much centered on the Village businesses, talking about Three Forks Chop House and listing only one hotel, the new Hotel Casa 425, which has only 28 rooms and which seems to get its name from its room prices. Not necessarily the place the average Chronicle reader would go if they happened to be in town for a weekend. It seemed odd too, that the Hua would omit other non-Village accommodations like the Doubletree or the Hotel Claremont.

And Jared Cicon, the independent adman who was in the local news last year for entering a couple amateur TV ad contests for Doritos and Heinz ketchup, has been enlisted into the City-Chamber promotional campaign as well:

Blogger and former Claremonter Juliana Brint picked up on the Chamber ads and had a few comments:

speaking of city planning and douchebagery: i'm a big fan of claremont's village expansion HOWEVER its accompanying ad campaign (financed by the city) plays into the worst of southern californian tendencies: superficiality, vapidity and a heightened sense of entitlement. it implies that the only worthwhile part of claremont is the village (only one of the seven "points of interest" on the agency's website is outside the village). the campaign's slogans range from self-satisfied spoiledness ("mia needed couture jeans to go with her superiority complex") to the inane and inarticulate ("claremont: shop, dine... chill").

NOTE: When we originally posted this, we listed Vanessa Hua, the writer of the Chronicle travel article, as "Riverside-based." Ms. Hua actually lives in Claremont. She also has written in to correct us about any notion that her Chronicle piece was commissioned by the city or the Chamber. It was not.