Providence is touting its charms in a new ad campaign designed to drum up tourism and encourage more Rhode Islanders to enjoy the city this summer.
Two TV ads released on Monday and scheduled to air through Sept. 8 highlight the city’s shopping, arts venues and family destinations. They end with the tagline: “So what are you waiting for?” A third ad, yet to be released, will focus on the city’s restaurants.
The ads cost $80,000 to run and were paid for using revenue from hotel taxes, said Kristen Adamo of the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau. They were produced in-house by the convention and visitors bureau and are a joint effort by the bureau and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, the City of Providence and the Providence Tourism Council.
Taveras spokesman David Ortiz said the ads are the centerpiece of Taveras’ goal to promote the city with a marketing campaign, part of his economic plan announced in March.
“He recognizes that cities need to market their assets. Providence has a lot of them,” he said, naming the city’s dining scene, Waterfire, art galleries and museums as among its attractions.
“Rhode Islanders need to be reminded that all they need to do is come to Providence. They don’t have to go up to Boston,” Ortiz said.
Adamo said the timing of the ads was chosen to coincide with children being out of school or just returning.
“We really wanted to promote options besides the beaches,” she said.
She called the ads a “gentle reminder” to Rhode Islanders about the affordable and inexpensive things to do in Providence.
One of the ads starts by addressing concerns that there aren’t enough places to park in the city. Frank LaTorre of the Downtown Improvement District tells the camera that downtown has more than 15,000 parking spaces, then encourages people to come to the city to attend a concert or visit a restaurant. The ad then turns to a local boutique owner and cafe owner, then turns to Taveras, who urges, “Come visit us in Providence today.”
Taveras, a Democrat, is serving his first term in office and has said he is seriously considering a run for governor next year against incumbent Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who recently switched from being an independent to a Democrat.
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