JACKSON The City with Soul may soon get a fresh advertising campaign. Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. has asked the Jackson City Council to approve a deal with Fahrenheit Creative Group to create a new marketing plan for Jackson.
After the council's work session Monday, Johnson said that the deal was not for the actual marketing campaign, only the plan for a campaign. The purpose, he said, is to accentuate the positives in the city.
"There are a lot of good things that are going on here in the city of Jackson. Too often, those things get buried by some of the challenges that we have," Johnson said.
"So what we're trying to do is create a strategy that will brand the city based on positive experiences, not just for our citizens, but for visitors as well."
If the city council approves the deal, which is on the agenda, at its regular session July 24, Fahrenheit Creative Group will take the lead on the marketing plan.
Olivia Thomas and Jason Thompson head Fahrenheit Creative Group, located at 921 N. Congress St. The two started the company in 2011 and have created marketing plans for the state Head Start Association and Jackson State University. This will be the company's first project for a municipality, but Thomas is not a stranger to such endeavors. Before starting Fahrenheit Creative, though, she worked for Quicksilver Creative, where she helped create Jackson's Go 80 campaign to help revitalize the Highway 80 corridor.
Thompson said he and Thomas have been talking with Anthony Dean, the city's director of marketing, for a couple of weeks about the plan. He said the plan will use traditional ad venues, such as television and print media, combined with non-traditional advertising, including the Internet and smart phones, to show the positive sides of Jackson.
The best way to market the Jackson's positives, Thompson said, is to allow the people who live here to tell their stories.
"We want to be able to touch every citizen in Jackson and anyone who would find the story of Jackson interesting. I think that's everyone in the country and across the world," Thompson said.
At the work session, Dean said that it is no secret Jackson gets its share of negative criticism. The goal of the marketing plan is to get Jacksonians and people from around the state excited about eating, shopping and living in the capital city.
Johnson said he wants to see the city's distinctions highlighted in the marketing.
"When people start thinking about the city of Jackson, what is foremost in their mind are all of these positive things that we have: the attractions, the cultural diversity, being the state capital, being the hub of finance and medical facilities, and that kind of thing," Johnson said.
The deal on the table for Fahrenheit Creative Group is worth $45,000. Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell said during the meeting that the city won't be doing a lot of marketing with that amount of money, but Johnson said that the deal is for the group's professional expertise in creating a plan, not an entire marketing campaign, which would include creative services and media placement costs.
"We need to make sure we know exactly what services are offered," Whitwell said.
Johnson said the focus of the plan is for marketing in the Jackson metro area. The city will talk with the Convention and Visitors Bureau about using their resources to implement the campaign within a 100-mile radius of the city.
Separate from the new marketing plan, the city will soon broadcast a television commercial in 20 markets across the southeastern U.S. aimed at promoting tourism to Jackson.
Thompson said it is time for Jackson to have a full-scale marketing plan, especially with similar plans popping up in towns like Madison recently.
"The support is there with the administration, and citizens are ready for something," Thompson said.
Councilman Charles Tillman, Ward 5, and Council President Tony Yarber, Ward 6, said at the meeting that they, too, are ready to see Jackson cast in a better light.
"I'm excited about us even looking at a marketing campaign," Yarber said. "I find it absolutely hilarious that I can watch TV and see commercials about Madison and everybody else, and as soon as we start talking about doing a marketing piece, then people are commenting (negatively). It's hilarious."
The City Council voted 5-1 Tuesday to approve the $45,000 deal with Fahrenheit Creative Group. Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes was the only dissenting vote. Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba was absent from the meeting.