By John Burton
RED BANK – It’s time to freshen things up for the borough’s business district and Red Bank RiverCenter and a local advertising firm have been doing just that.
Red Bank RiverCenter unveiled its new tag line for promoting the borough’s business district and is scheduled to lay out its plans for the campaign on Oct. 4, said Nancy Adams, executive director of RiverCenter, the marketing and advocacy organization for the borough’s commercial special improvement district.
The new tag line, featured in the new logo, is “a cool little town.”
That will replace “Only One Red Bank,” which had served as the district’s marketing line for the last four years, Adams said.
“We’re real excited about it,” Adams said. “It’s something we hope will be recognizable and immediately associated with the town to help in general with advertising, incorporating it into our events.”
The logo and tag line will be used in conjunction with a new marketing campaign. “What we really wanted to do was break out of the mold of what traditional tourism advertising looked like,” said Anthony Torre, founding partner with Spitball advertising and marketing, 60 Broad St. Members of the River Center Board of Directors and Adams had been working with the firm since January on its events, marketing and specifically for this venture.
Spitball took information gleaned from a series of meetings and discussions about what RiverCenter was hoping to accomplish and then did its own research to find out what people associated with the borough’s business district and other surrounding communities that offer similar attractions, Torre said.
“We wanted to make Red Bank stand out in a way that differentiates it from everything else,” he said.
One of the things many of the respondents told the advertising company was that “it’s a cool little town,” Adams said. “So that’s our new tag line.”
After four years of using the same line in its promotional material and advertisements, “we wanted something new and different to get us out there,” Adams said.
What the research showed is people saw Red Bank as “this idea of coming to escape for a little while,” for shopping, a meal, an evening at the theater, Torre said.
As part of the new promotional campaign, there is a new logo featuring a red swipe of paint on a white backdrop with white lettering in paint reading, “red bank, a cool little town.”
The advertising campaign will begin with an appearance on the inside cover of the new issue of New Jersey Monthly. RiverCenter plans to promote the business district during the holiday season on a large digital sign southbound on the Garden State Parkway. The tag line also will become the URL for the district’s website.
“We’ve been sort of the model” for urban downtown redevelopment, Adams said. But over the years other areas have followed the borough’s lead and Red Bank has seen competition from Keyport and Atlantic Highlands, and probably even more successfully, from Long Branch, and, more recently, Asbury Park.
Over the last few years the district had to confront the economic challenges faced everywhere, brought on by the recession. While a number of stores in the downtown area were vacated, those spaces are now filling up with new tenants, Adams stressed.
“So, we needed something that’ll kick it up and say, ‘Hey, check out Red Bank, it’s a cool little town,’” she said. “And it is.”
Red Bank RiverCenter was established about 22 years ago as a public/private partnership with elected officials and property and business owners to form a special improvement district for the downtown’s redevelopment. The borough had seen an eroding of the district and the accompanying tax base. About five years ago, RiverCenter expanded to include portions of the west side business and mixed-use areas.
RiverCenter does not receive general tax dollars. Its budget comes from an additional levy placed on properties located within the district.