CNN U.S. News

L.A. tries advertising a positive image


October 23, 1995
Web posted at: 12:24 a.m. EDT

From Correspondent Jim Hill

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- From natural disasters to man-made tragedies, Los Angeles has had some rough media treatment in recent years. But some L.A. boosters are making efforts to present the city in a more positive light.

Los Angeles now has its own version of "A Tale of Two Cities". The first is a city of natural disasters with wildfires or earthquakes leaving death and destruction in their wake. L.A. is also the home of sensational cases like the Rodney King beating trial and the O.J. Simpson murder case which left Angelenos bitterly divided.

Then there is the tale of the other L.A.. An exciting city with an economy prime to support businesses is the image Los Angeles boosters have created as part of a five-year campaign to help polish the halo on the "city of angels". (390K QuickTime movie)

"The reason why we decided to advertise is because the headlines were misleading the public and we thought it was important that we tell the other side of the story," said Regina Birdsell, of New Los Angeles Marketing Partnership.

This other side boasts that the Los Angeles area's economy is the 15th biggest in the world. It's estimated the area's industries will grow a healthy 2 percent during each of the next 20 years.

Instead of the positive points about the city, the out-of-towners have been hearing gloom and doom.

"I think it's dangerous here," was the feeling of one man.

"I think that I wouldn't want to live here," said a visiting woman.

Attitudes like that may present the biggest challenge to the city's image.


"Though it's not part of the new project, the mayor's mansion has been renovated at a cost of more than a million dollars," said Mayor Richard Riordan.


Donations paid for the renovations, and the mayor's friend, Nancy Daley, donated her time to oversee the changes from 1970s decor to a more modern look.

The idea of cities promoting themselves to attract business and commerce isn't new. But L.A.'s booster blitz is aimed at more than bringing outsiders in. It's also designed to keep the people who already live there.

"This is a bit of a comfort blanket to keep people snug and secure, to tell them to wait it out, things will get better," said Professor Eric Schockman, of the University of Southern California.

The blanket will cost Los Angles tax payers $2 million over the next five years. Private donations will also help pay the cost of promotion. Hopefully, it's as good as money in the bank for those who're banking on the city's future.


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