Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Any Way You Like It

    Asheville's old marketing slogan was "Land of Sky," a motto that touted its mountain beauty.

    As of Tuesday, the new slogan is "any way you like it," a motto that touts the city's acceptance of the unconventional.

    Beginning next winter, TV spots will air in Atlanta, Charlotte and Orlando, showing skinny-dipping seniors in mountain streams and mountain bikers careening down the grand staircase at Biltmore House.

    Travel magazines will show traffic signs that urge pedestrians to skip rather than walk or "Stop and Smell the Cappuccino."

    The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority spent two years and $200,000 researching Asheville's image before unveiling a new logo and TV spots Tuesday.

    "For many years, Asheville positioned itself as a hub destination in the mountains where you go to all these attractions. But as the market became more cluttered and consumers more sophisticated, that message didn't resonate," said Herman Turk, general manager of the Asheville Renaissance Hotel and chairman of the TDA.

    Marla Tambellini, director of marketing for the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the city needed to go behind its superficial identity.

    "We need to go beyond the physical attractions and find the emotional connection," she said. "What do visitors experience when they visit here?"

    The TDA will spend $1.7 million for an ad campaign starting next February to promote Asheville as a unique destination where anyone can find a personal adventure.

    "We did think outside the box," said Leslie MacInnis of Cramer-Krasselt, the TDA's new ad agency based in Orlando, Fla. "This campaign will stand out for the community, but hey, this is a standout community, what can I say. This town can deliver on the promise. When you come on an Asheville vacation, anything can happen."

    Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times,