It Starts with a Spark
The Downtown Marketing Collaborative was formed to help raise awareness about Downtown Jacksonville, Florida. It is a common misconception in the city that this area is unsafe, inactive, and inconvenient, and they needed a campaign to help change the public’s mind. Downtown is on Fire was created to help reimagine the city’s image. It has a subtle reference to the great fire of 1901, which nearly wiped the city off the map. But instead, it came back stronger, rising from the ashes. This kind of powerful imagery is what the campaign focused on.
The identity began with a small flame icon, then expanded into a variety of entertaining headlines. The fire puns were seemingly endless, and we had a lot of fun seeing how far we could push the brand. A major component of this campaign was guerrilla marketing, which meant we got to dream up unconventional ways to introduce this concept to the public. I oversaw the copywriting and design for projects such as sidewalk vinyls, large-scale building vinyls, avenue banners, stickers, coasters, and more.
A major goal for this campaign was to boost traffic and discussion on the Downtown is on Fire Facebook page. The DMC ran a previous campaign which garnered about 4,000 page likes. Within the first month of the rollout, the number spiked to 12,000. Now, two years later, the page has almost 22,500 page likes and has become a major hub for news and discussion about the Downtown area.
The website component was important for this campaign, since the Downtown Marketing Collaborative wanted to create a comprehensive site for Jacksonville residents to turn to for information. It was designed to be a robust directory of all events happening downtown, featuring information on sports, food, entertainment, nightlife, transportation, and family activities. With the help of the many organizations represented in the Collaborative, we created a site that helped people who may not be familiar with Downtown Jacksonville quickly find what they are looking for.
Once the campaign launched, the whole community got into it. From storefronts to restaurants, businesses utilized the Downtown is on Fire social media campaign to help strengthen their business. We were especially thrilled when the local brewery, Intuition Ale Works, created a special-edition beer flavor entitled, “Smoke”. So we got a chance to design the brand for the deliciously unconventional beer that left a definite smoky aftertaste.
The campaign did wonderful things for Downtown Jacksonville. It successfully raised more awareness and inspired more tourism. It gave downtown merchants and restaurant owners a platform to promote their business on. It gave me an opportunity to design things I never imagined myself doing, from environmental graphics to holiday window displays. I had a great time designing this campaign, and it will never stop making me smile to find a Downtown is on Fire decal on a car or store window. Or in Times Square.
Everyone is Always Talking About Downtown…
We also created a video, which captured the spirit of the Downtown is on Fire campaign and the city. I had a great time writing the script and overseeing the video shoot from production to editing, but it was a terrific group effort from Cinematographer Joe Karably, voice talent from Andy Gattis, and custom-recorded cover music from Mondo Mike and the Po Boys. We were happy to create a video that we felt represented the tone of this campaign.