Oregon ads get town talking

In case you missed it, the Oregon Film & Video Office has launched a mysterious campaign to drum up business for the state that features some of the wildest descriptions of mythical movies this side of Hollywood itself.

Here’s the copy to one advertisement that ran July 1 in Daily Variety:

“Open to the coast of Scotland.

“Pan to Sigourney Weaver mohawked and saddled on a breaching whale.

“Using only a blowgun and a flare, she takes out every Russian whaling ship in the Atlantic.

“It’s action. It’s ’90s. It’s Eco-Aliens with a ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ twist.”

Other Oregon advertisements have featured such scenarios as Madonna in a Midwestern tearjerker, Whoopi Goldberg in “a basic action comedy suspense docudrama” and Spike Lee in a hip-hop movie about a nomadic tribe in the Kalahari that finds a group of lost tourists. (“It’s powerful. It’s topical. It’s a fortune in baseball caps alone.”)

So how did Oregon bring off such a spoof? It received clearances from each of the Hollywood talents used in the campaign, including Weaver, Madonna, Goldberg, Lee, Michael Jackson, Uma Thurman, Richard Dreyfuss, Gus Van Sant, Martin Sheen and Gerard Depardieu. No one was paid for the use of their names.

“We were pleased with the level of cooperation that we’ve had,” said David Woolson, the Oregon Film & Video Office exec director.

Woolson is a former Orion Pictures lawyer and business affairs executive at such firms as Dick Clark Prods., Reeves Entertainment, Orion and Paramount.

Developed by the Portland-based advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy, which does the Nike and Subaru ads, each of the eight Oregon Film & Video office advertisements used in the campaign is accompanied by an appropriate Oregon location.

The list of shots featured includes the Oregon Dunes near Coos Bay, the Pittock Mansion in Portland, the small town of Independence and Heceta Head Lighthouse on the Oregon coast.

Woolson said the campaign exposed people in Hollywood to the various looks that Oregon offers, including a few that “surprised people as well.”

He said the response to the campaign has been worth the roughly $ 70,000 spent on the print advertisement, including several potential leads and some producers calling “to say, ‘I don’t have a project right now but, gee, you have very hip, very cool ads.’ I think we got a pretty good bang for the buck.”

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