Quirky Videos Touting Chattanooga As Destination Gain Attention

By Mike Pare Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Lucky Ramsey's "Pathfinder Films" joined with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce to produce three city branding videos she describes as "fun and silly." The series has generated what the business group calls "a phenomenal" number of hits on social media.

Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.

Filmmaker Lucky Ramsey says she talked to economic developers this week about some quirky but highly watched videos touting Chattanooga as a place for high-tech talent and entrepreneurs.

"Most [cities] use standard promotional reel on the business climate and low cost of living," she said. "The market is saturated with that. We wanted to do something to grab attention."

Ramsey's Pathfinder Films joined with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce to produce three city branding videos she described as "fun and silly." The series has generated what the business group calls "a phenomenal" number of hits on social media.

According to the Chamber, the pieces dubbed "Literally Perfect" have already reached more than 127,000 viewers since the first segment aired about a year ago.

Sybil Topel, the Chamber's vice president of marketing and communications, said the idea for the series began when the group's economic development chief, Charles Wood, sought a concept to recruit tech companies and entrepreneurs to the city.

The Chamber used grant money to finance the off-beat short films, the first of which cost about $15,000 to produce, Topel said.

"Humor makes more people want to watch and share it," she said.

The first video introduces a businessman named Felix from a company based elsewhere that created "the undo button for mistakes in real life." He moves the operation to Chattanooga and it grows exponentially.

Another video follows a West Coast entrepreneur who created a dating app called "MouthTime" but was frustrated by factors including "carrier pigeon"-speed internet service. But, relocating to Chattanooga, she gets the ultra-fast Gig.

The latest segment, with musical bits, follows a tech exec from "the big city" seeking revenge on Chattanooga, which has stolen her best millennial-age workers. By its end, she, too, is won over by the surroundings, cost of living, and the Gig. "Chattanooga is literally perfect," the executive says.

In the last video, one worker termed Chattanooga "the Tom Hanks of places." Topel said they've reached out to Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson, on Twitter and invited the famous couple to Chattanooga.

"Hopefully, we'll keep the fun going with it," she said.

While the Chamber may do more traditional branding pieces in the future, there's a place for the tongue-in-cheek style that pokes fun at Chattanooga but is aimed at elevating the city's status among its target audience, Topel said.

Ramsey, who made the economic development group presentation with Chamber creative projects manager Jeremy Henderson, said the original plan was to craft the quirky videos and show them at kiosks at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

"It grew from there," she said. "The Chamber did a great job in launching it."

Topel said a fourth video in the series will depend on what's needed by the Chamber's membership.

"They may look crazy and fun, but there was much intent in the script," she said.

Topel said the series has gained recognition from The Atlantic's City Lab and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. It's also been shown at Georgia Tech and used as a case study at Cornell University in an economic development class, she said.

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