By BUILDER Magazine Staff. After the initial novelty and praise subsided, Celebration, Fla., Disney's utopian TND, had its fair share of criticism. Outsiders charged that is was a phony small town, meticulously run by the evil mouse empire. But the residents have a much more positive view, and that's what really matters.
Last November, the community celebrated its fifth anniversary, marked by a series of events to commemorate the founding. The Parent Teacher Association sponsored an essay and drawing contest, asking all of the school children to describe their feelings about Celebration.
Not originally intended as a marketing tool, the entries were so touching that community marketers used them for a direct mail piece. "What we got were genuine stories about why the children love it here and how it makes a big difference in their lives," says Andrea Finger, public relations director at Celebration.
They also plan to use the images and essays as part of a larger ongoing marketing campaign. "We couldn't have come up with stuff as great as what these kids wrote and drew about their experiences," notes David Miles, president of the Denver-based Miles Advertising Agency.
Program: Direct mail piece; Developer: Celebration Co., Celebration, Fla.; Project: Celebration, Celebration; Target market: Residents and prospective buyers; Launched: November 2001; Agency: Miles Advertising, Denver