Another Thought On That Video

If you haven’t seen the video that was referred to on the news tonight, you can see it here. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Anyway…

Disclaimer: I work for companies who are participating members of the BVCB and COVA (Central Oregon Visitor’s Association). I’ve seen damn near every bit of marketing that has come out of this area, and have participated in the decision making that’s shaped some of that marketing. I wasn’t a part of the discussion that approved this video (if there was an approval process, I have no idea), so I can’t vouch for any of that.

There seems to be a lot of folks saying tax dollars shouldn’t be used for this sort of thing. Now, it’s my understanding (and somebody correct me if I’m wrong) that both COVA and BVCB get tax dollars not in the form of it getting pulled from locals, but from room tax revenue, and it’s required to be earmarked for tourism marketing for the area. It’s my understanding that nobody at the BVCB or COVA has to preapprove anything with the city, other than maybe their annual budget or planned use for the money they’re earmarked.

The BVCB, like COVA, also receives money from its member companies, and my guess is that the $35,000 that was spent on this video could’ve easily been covered by membership fees from all the companies that are part of BVCB (which run about $400+/year, if I remember correctly) and might not have ever touched those funds earmarked by the city or county. Nevermind…see below…

Am I wrong here? Somebody please speak up if I am. I’ve already stated my feelings about the video, so we don’t need to go into that again (but my boss hadn’t seen it, and as a board member for a couple of these local organizations, he was a bit shocked that somebody actually approved it). But feel free to comment below.

Update on 6/21 at 11:50: Had a brain fart here. The BVCB is not membership based, like I originally thought. I was getting them confused with the Bend Chamber who, if I remember correctly, used to share a building with them up on the north end of town.

My apologies, but the fact remains that it was room tax that was used to fund this, not local property taxes.


I finally saw the Forbidden Video. Honestly, I can see both sides of the issue. Yeah, the video’s a bit over-the-top. But from a viral marketing standpoint, that’s exactly what makes these things popular (remember the Ford video in Europe a few years ago that had the car’s sunroof decapitating a cat? VERY edgy – and millions viewed it). My guess is that “City Leaders” will say all of the correct things publicly while secretly jumping for joy at the publicity and notoriety.
The “dating your sister” bit did confuse me, though… I didn’t think Oregon was anywhere NEAR Kentucky.

Mrs. H says:

Jake, you are right and this is something I should have realized from the beginning. The money is not money from local taxpayers but from tourists staying in hotels which the city council then grants to the vistor centers. So, who has a say in how the money is used? Who really knows. Where I work our marketing is done by a committee as a collective but we don’t have our board and donors approve the local marketing (since we’re donor funded). Of course, I don’t see our organization doing an edgy viral marketing campaign either.
In the end, they’re getting what they wanted .. ppl forwarding it on (three ppl yesterday forwarded to me), folks posting on their blogs and ppl talking about it. Mission accomplished? Probably.

word tha heck are ya says:

I have been looking for information regarding the money issue and have yet to find anything. I know that the City of Bend ‘gives’ money to the BVC but I do not know what that amount is. I also know that the BVC is a ‘mutual benefit’ non-profit which may mean that it – well I don’t know what it means…
One of the main issues here is that the viral is a complete deviation of the City of Bend brand and the caretakers of that brand (Mike Glover & BVC Board Members) should be held accountable for it…
I don’t think this would be an issue if Rage Films did it…

Jon says:

Well, according to the Bulletin article (here):
“The council allocates $738,000 yearly to the visitor bureau to market the city. Of that, roughly $450,000 goes toward marketing, advertising and public relations, Glover said. The bureau has spent $35,000 on the video, or roughly 8 percent of its marketing budget for the year.”
So does the money allocated by the City Council come from room tax revenue, or actual taxpayer money? (City Councilor John Hummel was quoted in the article as saying it was “taxpayer money”.)
Personally, I don’t really care where the money came from, I just thought that $35K was way too much to spend on something of that quality… and having been in the internet/web biz for some years now, I’ve seen some pretty outrageous pricetags on projects.

word tha heck are ya says:

Page 213 of the City’s 2006 budget (on the City’s website) states that $738k is given to the BVC. Page 214 estimates $984k in Transient Tax revenue… My take is that the City is main revenue source for BVC and that the room tax pays for it…
To me, the questions is it a good investment for the City to be associated with BVC at this time? Perhaps, but is the BVC going in the right direction? After the viral – I’m not too sure…

My Two Cents says:

The video misses the mark. It’s funny in an insider-humor kind of way (did anyone else catch the image of Dr. Carlson of The Center? Grabbing that insurance money – funny, and true!). But would it make someone not living here want to visit? No. Especially with the dating your sister reference and over-the-top promiscuity (are we really that bad here??). As for the viral impact – I sent it to friends here in Bend, but not to my friends and family out of state. At best, they wouldn’t get it and at worst, it gives them a weird perception of Bend. Thumbs down.

Jen says:

Yes, I noticed Dr. Carlsen too. But he’s an orthopaedic doc so why would they portray him as fixing a snowboarder’s broken neck? Maybe he should complain to BVC for misrepresenting him. He should insist they issue a public apology and release a new clip that depicts him accurately.
OH WAIT… that would imply that we are meant to take everything in the clip seriously, as a documentary style depiction of Bend. Which it is not. Remember the target audience, folks.
Don’t forget, Bend is pretty close to some (cough, cough) smaller communities where the dating pool is pretty small… and sis might be someone’s best option! 😉

Jake says:

Finally found the 2005-06 budget online.
OK, so the city gets $984K in room tax. $738K is giving to the BVCB (where the other 250K goes, I have no idea — probably other local groups marketing/plugging Bend like COVA or something, I just haven’t read through the entire budget yet). I forgot that the city charged a tax to hotels within the city limits on top of (or maybe in replacement of?) the 7% room tax the county charges everybody.
But I do know that generally speaking, they have no say in what the groups do with the money after it’s given. The group has to use it for marketing Bend, they just aren’t allowed to specify how they market Central Oregon (obviously if they plan on continuing to receive that money, they better watch what they do).
But for the city council to say that “this is taxpayers dollars” is a bit of a falsehood. Tax revenue it may be, but local tax revenue, it’s not. Generally, the people paying those room taxes are out-of-towners. I don’t know too many people locally that rent hotels and such. If they’re going to throw a party, they’ll do it at the Inn of the 7th or in Sunriver — two places both outside the city limits and exempt from city room tax (they still have to pay county and state room tax of 7% and 1%, respectively).
Was it good marketing? I, like some of you, showed it to some out of towners who had been to Bend before. While they thought it was a bit weird and entertaining, they had no idea it was marketing Bend, nor did they want to go to whatever place it was marketing (I only told them it was for Bend after they’d seen it).
I also tend to agree with Jon — it was not money well spent. It seems totally obscene to me as well that it cost $35,000 to make (and I’ve seen some huge price tags, too — $35,000 is a lot of money unless there is more to this plan other than this video that we don’t know about).
I’d personally like to hear the story from the BVCB about this, not the official comment, but the “here’s what we were thinking” comment. But I don’t know if we will anytime soon.

Jake says:

“and sis might be someone’s best option! ;)”
That’s just so wrong, Jen….funny, but so wrong 😉

Best Local Marketing Ever

The Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau apparently spent $35,000 on this hilarious, if not totally politically incorrect sing-a-long. You’ll notice the domain is — they also have a companion…

word tha heck are ya says:

Good point Jake, but what about the property taxes on all of the houses (second homes) from the CA’s? Is that local tax revenue?
I do have an email from Mike Glover, it’s his response to my email bashing the viral:

My guess is that if you grew up here, you would not be a potential visitor and are not the target audience. I apologize if you did not like
it, but it is already proving to be the most effective campaign ever done in Central Oregon. I think you are taking it too literally if that is how you think we are depicting this area – did you not see Smith Rock, Pilot Butte, the Deschutes River, a play at Tower Theatre?
Michael Glover
Executive Director
Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau
917 N. W. Harriman St., Downtown Bend
Bend, OR 97701
p: 541.382.8048
cell: 541-610-6848
fax: 541.382.8568

Here is the email from the Mayor Bill Friedman (I think he thought I was Mike Glover):

Mike, don’t take this stuff too seriously. We know you are doing a great job. We know anything done will offend someone. Besides don’t “drunks, drug addicts, criminals, sexual deviants, and foul-mouthed” have a right to be included as a part of our population? And you did not even ask which one of these he was!

Interesting responses to say the least – I sent them to Hummel…

Jake says:

Thanks for sharing that, word.
The property taxes aren’t part of the transient room tax that’s given to the BVCB as part of their budget (and reiterate part — remember that all the companies pay annual membership dues to be part of the BVCB). As far as I know, the only money that goes to the BVCB from the city comes from the transient room tax revenue, NOT from property taxes.

word tha heck are ya says:

I think it’s safe to say that the $’s ‘budgeted’ to BVC is directly influenced by the estimated revenue $’s from the room tax.
FYI – the City of Bend is retaining a budgeted amount of approx. $127k. I haven’t looked into the remainder…

Jake, you're wrong. says:

You’re confused — COVA is membership based. BVCB is not membership based they get their funds from the room tax.

Jake says:

You know what, you’re right. I just looked through my paperwork, and realized that it’s the Bend Chamber I’m thinking of, not the BVCB (they used to share the same building, so I get confused).
And COVA gets money from the *county* room tax fund, as well as membershipts, I do know that.

Chicken Wing says:

My Two Cents:
Look at the target demographic. Tech saavy people 19-34. 4 out of 5 people I talk to IN THAT DEMOGRAPHIC thought it was great. Mission accomplished. Guess what, you can’t keep churning out the same crap and appeal to everyone. There is a new generation that must be reached in new ways. We don’t need people outside of that demographic formulating opinions for all of us.

word tha heck are ya says:

I agree C’dub, they need to be reached; but c’mon can’t the BVC use a little more tact than that?
I guess we will see what happens at the Council meeting tonight…

Jake says:

If any of you have a write up after tonight’s meeting (can’t go myself) and want to post it here, just let me know.

Mrs. H says:

It will be on TV. Watch it on Channel 11.

Dude says:

I’m going, I heard some things (people) are going to go down…

My Two Cents says:

Chicken Wing: I have to laugh – I am IN the target demographic! As I said, I think the video is funny because I live here. Visitors wouldn’t get it. But I am sure you are right – all the 19-34 tech savvy people will love to come to Bend so they can enjoy the hillbillies, rednecks and drugs.

Chicken Wing says:

Those are called “jokes”. Many people will understand the humor. You obviously don’t.

Dude says:

What about the incest?
I’m IN the demo-g too, but I live here so I guess I don’t get a say in how the city is sold…

The video totally missed the mark. It’s about insulting all the Californians who move here. 😉

Dude says:

Nothing really happened at the meeting last night. My take is that Linda Johnston (who is on the Council and on the BVC Board) is going to be more involved in the approval process…

Sally J. says:

Well… I’m a viable measure of its effectiveness I guess, since I’m 34, tech-savvy and from out-of-town, so the “inside jokes” mean absolutely zilch to me.
And… I don’t get it. Not only did I not “get” that it’s an ad (LOL… bad, bad, bad) I don’t get where it’s for, and I don’t get why I should go there.
I certainly do not rub elbows with drug users, drunks or ho-bags, thank you, so if the area is being pedalled as a place where those lifestyles are OK, that’s actually a turn-off to me.

Besides don’t “drunks, drug addicts, criminals, sexual deviants, and foul-mouthed” have a right to be included as a part of our population? And you did not even ask which one of these he was!

Uh, none of the above, thank you. I’m a potential visitor, and I just crossed Bend Oregon off my list, if that’s what the place is like.
And yes, I have a ripe sense of humor, I dig edgy stuff and I totally into well-done viral marketing… this video flops entirely for anybody who doesn’t live there, because we don’t understand the stories behind the references.