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'Weird' Fayetteville ads leave some scratching their heads

Posted July 14, 2009

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— Tacky, tasteless, moronic – those are just some of the words critics are using to describe an ad campaign spearheaded by the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The web videos are part of the city's advertising campaign: "Fayetteville N.C., the World's First Sanctuary for Soldiers."

Fayetteville ads leave some scratching their heads Fayetteville ads confuse some residents

The videos began showing on various Web sites last week. By Monday, most had been pulled. But as of Tuesday morning, they were back on You Tube.com.

In one video, a soldier climbs onto the back of an elderly woman with a walker. Instead of a strapping young soldier guiding the lady across the street, it's the other way around.

The web ads, produced by the Republik advertising agency in Durham, are meant to show that Fayetteville is exceptionally military friendly.

WRAL News showed the ads to people on the street in Fayetteville. Among the four who viewed them, the meaning seemed lost.

“I think I was so caught up in it being atypical, that I’d want to watch it again to make sure I got the message,” said Fayetteville resident Christin Bellian. “I think I spent most of my time processing it thinking, ‘Oh my God, that was weird.’”

“You know, it was just a bit distasteful,” said Ebony Oliver, a Fayetteville resident.

As for making the point that Fayetteville will go to any lengths for the military, Oliver said she "didn’t grasp that from it at all.”

The president of the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said he wants to continue to gauge public reaction to the ads. John Meroski said the intent was to make them edgy and over the top, and he has no plans to hire another ad agency.

Meroski said it doesn't matter if he likes the ads. What matters is that they show Fayetteville will go to almost any length to make soldiers welcome.

Mayor Tony Chavonne has seen the spots and said they’re supposed to be edgy. He is not willing to pull the plug on them yet.

“An overwhelming number of the soldiers here are young soldiers standing in line for ‘Bruno’ and ‘Borat,’” Chavonne said. “I think it’s an effort to try to speak to them in a language they enjoy.”

Chavonne said the response from the military has been positive.

“It might not be on that appeals to you or me,” Chavonne said. “It’s probably not designed for a 50-year-old guy to appeal to, but I think it probably does appeal to those young people.”

49 Comments

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  • westoflyra Jul 14, 2009

    The advertising agency is by no means ahead of its time. It took a major step backward. Even their website doesn't look professional.

  • jiinnc Jul 14, 2009

    Wonder how many tax dollars were wasting on that garbage? Tacky and tasteless and VERY insulting to all the soldiers at Ft.Bragg and airman at Pope AB. It "appears" to be advertising to the military - especially the younger GI's who don't have any choice in their duty stations anyway. So what are we trying to sell here? (Besides the stupidity of the town government?) Maybe city hall could've taken the money spent on this ad, hired a few more police officers, and PROTECTED all the soldiers getting killed at the bars in Fayetteville!!! Now that would be a soldier friendly town.

  • rogers922 Jul 14, 2009

    wkclark wrote: " I don't believe residents in many southern towns get today's advertising techniques. These opinions are not designed to be rude, it's clear the advertising company is ahead of its time."

    I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. This type of advertising would not go over there either. It is offensive. The advertiser needs to market his message in a more dignified manner. As to the advertiser being ahead of its time....they are so far ahead they could exit the back of the closet into Narnia! Fayetteville needs to look into how much this foray into idiocy cost and who approved it, and then ask them to reimburse the the taxpayers and find another job. This was sheer irresponsibility.

  • itsme2002 Jul 14, 2009

    These are horrible!!!

  • njt95 Jul 14, 2009

    I am ashamed to admit that I grew up in Fayetteville, and glad I don't live there anymore. Those ads are horrible. Fayetteville people you need to get a rid of whoever is promoting this. They are sick...

  • OpinionOnEverything Jul 14, 2009

    @wkclark:

    I think you're right on the money. Fayetteville is a just another typical rural, non-descript town in the south who's residents are content with their conservative, family-values, suburban Walmart-type residents who aren't particularly impressed with anything out of the ordinary. Hence, the ads, while edgy and humorous to some extent, won't work for people who can't spend more than five seconds analyzing and deconstructing the hidden message or approach. Something more plain vanilla showcasing the military presence, the museums, festivals, and recent downtown improvements is all they should expect to get a few more visitors to wander through on their way to Florida or to the beach.

  • FragmentFour Jul 14, 2009

    Not sure what the point of these ads is - Fayetteville is NOT particularly pro-soldier, and the soldiers there probably don't appreciate the way they're depicted here. There is one kernel of truth in the street crossing one - the woman's reaction to having to regularly deal with the GIs is pretty standard although the circumstances are not.

  • streetcar Jul 14, 2009

    "HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Wow...that was hilarious. A little odd for sure, but wow...I think everyone at work is wondering why Im laughing."
    ---st watson

    I agree, I thought they were really funny, LOL. I probably wouldn't use them as commercials advertising a city though. I guess it depends on who their target audience is, and that is something the ad agency definitely should've figured out.

  • mcondor Jul 14, 2009

    I went to utube and watched 2 of these.

    I can not believe how ridiculously poor these videos
    are. They have no actual content. To say they are like
    middle school videoas belittles middle schools.

    These video are really just dumb!

    - Mark

  • Professor Jul 14, 2009

    Freedom of speech. This is America.

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