- The Washington Times - Monday, April 22, 2002

The Greater Washington Initiative is using local corporate bigwigs to get out the message that Washington is an ideal place to live and work.
The nonprofit, regional economic-development marketing organization has kicked off a new corporate spokesperson campaign valued at about $650,000 targeting executives who are looking to grow their business into the region.
Currently the ads feature J.W. Marriott Jr., chairman of Bethesda-based Marriott International Inc. and William Haseltine, chief executive of Human Genome Sciences Inc., based in Rockville. AOL Time Warner executive and sports mogul Ted Leonsis has also signed on to star in the ads, says Thomas Morr, managing partner of the Greater Washington Initiative, which is an affiliate of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.
Mr. Morr says the campaign's concept is similar to the famous celebrity-endorsed "Got Milk," ads that feature stars like former Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr., actress Yasmine Bleeth and talk show host Conan O'Brien, among others.
By using the well-known corporate executives, Mr. Morr says it gives the ads a more personal touch as they help convey the same message.
"The whole world knows Washington is the headquarters for the U.S. government," Mr. Morr says. "But they don't realize we have a strong vibrant business community."
The Greater Washington Initiative was originally going to start an advertising campaign, using existing creative work, in October but the September 11 terrorist attacks put that plan on hold. The new campaign incorporates some of the same graphic elements that the Washington Convention and Tourism Corp. uses in its advertising.
The corporate spokesperson campaign is targeting both national and local audiences. Television ads are appearing on Discovery Communications' channels, PBS and on the airport networks at Washington Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The print and radio ads are running regionally in publications like The Washington Times, The Washington Post and Potomac Tech Journal and local Clear Channel Communications radio stations like DC 101 and Oldies 100.
Mr. Morr says the ads are running locally so the existing business community can serve as "ambassadors" armed with information about the region to spread the news to others.
The majority of the ads, including print, radio, TV and Internet, will run through the end of July with some continuing into the fall.
New wins
Gaylord Entertainment has named Trahan, Burden & Charles agency of record for the marketing and advertising of Gaylord Hotels. Billings are estimated at $8 million.
O'Keeffe & Co., a marketing consulting firm in McLean, has signed on two new clients: Polycom Inc. and Aquilent. The agency will handle a U.S. public relations effort for Milpitas, Calif.-based Polycom, which provides interactive voice, video, data and Web communications. O'Keeffe & Co. will also handle advertising, collateral material and analyst and media relations for Laurel-based Aquilent, formerly known as Commerce One e-Government Solutions.
Audex Inc., which focuses on solutions for hearing-impaired people, has hired Rockville-based Cylix Communications to build awareness of the company worldwide.
Nucleus Technologies, based in Arlington, has selected Washington-based Aker Partners as its public relations agency of record.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884 or at [email protected]washingtontimes.com. Advertising & Marketing runs every other week.


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