Marketing St. Louis to St. Louisans

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The Jet Setter TV spot is a couple years old, but many in St. Louis will have just seen it for the first time. KMOV recently ran a story asking “Does St. Louis need to sell itself to locals?” This 30 second ad just completed a $70,000 run on local stations.

The ad, which runs the narrative, “You could fly to Venice…. or Paris… or even Copenhagen. You could fly all over the world, but why? When you could just come to St. Louis.”, shows a jet passing St. Louis landmarks.

Rewind seven years, and the St. Louis Convention and Visitor’s Commission found through market research that locals often had a more negative perspective on St. Louis than those from elsewhere. The spot was designed to run in Midwest markets such as Indianapolis and Memphis. According to KMOV, the St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation paid for the local ad buy.

Did the ad sell you on St. Louis? How is marketing to locals different that marketing to the larger Midwest and elsewhere? And in your experience, do locals often have a more negative view of St. Louis than others? What should the next CVC ad include?

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  • Adam

    A waste of money that would have been better allocated repairing sidewalks or planting trees downtown.

    • jhoff1257

      Except the CVC isn’t responsible for any of that.

      • Adam

        I know. I’m just saying $70K could be better spent. The loathing runs deep in this metro, and I don’t see this video affecting those who most need their attitudes toward the city adjusted. Besides, having just returned to the US from Paris yesterday, the entire premise of the video is silly. St. Louis is a wonderful place but it’s not Paris.

        • jhoff1257

          You’re right, St. Louis isn’t Paris. But I highly doubt the point of the video was to make people think St. Louis is like Paris. I certainly didn’t come away with that. Like any other cheesy ad from any other city it’s just away to showcase some of what we do have.

          • Alex Ihnen

            Being from Indiana – I could see this playing well there. Many consider Chicago to be a little to big for comfort (or they’ve already been there a few times), and they’re not choosing between Paris and St. Louis. They just want/need to see that St. Louis is unexpected – has some cool stuff. These ads do carry a significance for outsiders as a message from a city (and its people) – meaning the ads reflect on residents. Perhaps aligning STL with some world class cities makes sense in that way.

            For locals, I think STL is taken for granted. Every hometown is to some extent, but when people say they love Indy, or Memphis, or Louisville, or someplace, but that STL is horrible…well, that’s just an anti-hometown bias. I do think that an ad purposely aimed at locals would have a different feel – a more “here are your neighbors” feel, featuring small biz owners, employees at various institutions, etc. Just a thought.

          • Adam

            Exactly. Which is why the “This is St. Louis” videos are so popular.

          • Adam

            sorry, I meant “Here is St. Louis.”

          • moe

            I think all cities have the same issue….residents get numb to the benefits of their own city….be it St. Louis, Denver, or New York. And every city thinks they are better than their neighbors as well. In this age of technology, people don’t even know their neighbors and are afraid of travelling out of their comfort zone…usually the end of their driveway.

          • jhoff1257

            Becoming “numb” to your surroundings is a great way to put it. It’s like the phrase you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. A couple examples: I grew up in West County and used to think St. Louis was just a run of the mill town, not a terrible place by any means, but I always longed for “something better,” whatever that meant. It wasn’t until I moved to KC (a great city in it’s own right) that I realized what all St. Louis had to offer and then realized how pissed I was for never taking advantage of it. Now I can proudly say when I come back to St. Louis I spend the majority of my time East of Skinker Blvd then I do at home in West County. Gotta make up for lost time!

            My other example comes from Vancouver, BC. I look at Vancouver and see heaven on Earth. Then I was reading an article regarding mass transit in Vancouver a few years back and all the locals were saying things like “this town will never get anything right!” and “when will Vancouver ever figure it out!?” Seems locals in any given city will harp on their own town. They just don’t know what they have until it’s gone…

          • Adam

            The video says “Why go to Venice, Paris, etc. when you can come to St. Louis.” I don’t know how else to interpret that other than “We have everything those places have,” which, of course, is ridiculous. Please don’t think I’m bashing St. Louis. I love St. Louis and would rather live there than Paris for a number of reasons. However, I’m not the video’s target audience, and I think that target audience is going to watch it and go, “Yeah. Whatever.”

          • Dogtoen Dude

            OMG, you have real problem man. If your world is this negative, I am truly sorry for you.

          • Adam

            okay. and i’m sorry about your exaggeration problem.

          • matimal

            It’s not Omaha either. It important to have a realistic self perception.

        • John R

          I don’t agree. Sure there is a percentage of troglodytes who will never believe in the city or support it, but there also are a lot of people who are starting to hear and witness the rapid changes afoot — even if they are not in tune to the explosive growth in places like Cherokee Street, the Grove and Old McRee Town that are popular with younger generations, projects like Cortex, IKEA and BPV are definitely improvements our suburban brethren can relate to. A small buy of this sort can help this audience re-think their city and come visit more often.

          • Adam

            I would agree with you if this video had actually shown some of those changes and some of that growth. As it stands, though, the video just flashes a handful of standard landmarks. That doesn’t convey growth or change or dynamism.

          • John R

            True… this is just a small run of an already produced piece that was designed for an outside market. If it was a big buy targeted at local suburbanites, it would make sense to produce a piece more along the lines of “So You Think You Know Saint Louis, Huh?” that references all the cool new stuff. But again I believe even this one sends out a positive message on the city at a good time, so kudos for the buy.

  • RobbyD

    I like this ad in particular. So much of marketing is ideas and emotions aligning, right? The idea of St. Louis aligning with feelings of significance, hope, and a place to be, rather than the opposites of irrelevance, despair, and “run!”
    We need something to happen, a reality, of business outsiders choosing St. Louis. Someone moving into the emptying ATT building downtown for example. That would help bring attention to a lot of organic things that are happening here.

  • jhoff1257

    “In your experience, do locals often have a more negative view of St. Louis than others?”

    Interesting question. I’ve always found that people in suburban St. Louis generally dislike it more then City residents and outsiders. I went to college in Kansas City and many of my classmates and friends were from the St. Louis area. A few were from the City of St. Louis and LOVED home, couldn’t stop talking about it. Many others were from suburban St. Louis and always seemed to be down on STL. I think some of this has to do with the national perception of St. Louis. Many suburban folks here (not all of them by any means) don’t really ever leave their little fiefdom, except for maybe a ballgame (and let’s be honest, Downtown is nice but not the most attractive part of St. Louis by any means). Everything they think they know about St. Louis comes from the Post-Dispatch and local news. Quite honestly I think those are some of the worst resources to use when learning about your city, especially local TV. Personal experience is the best way to get to know your surroundings.

    I’ll be honest, I was one of those suburban people too. I started working at a suburban office complex in KC many years ago and was constantly taking shit from people in Johnson County, Kansas about how ridiculous it was that i lived in the city or even just Missouri. Then I started realizing this was the same stupid shit people in suburban St. Louis were saying too. So I started exploring the City of STL myself. I read all the Groth Guides. I made my own opinion (based on actual experience) and because of it I think its pretty obvious where I stand on my feelings for St. Louis now ;).

    I also find it funny when St. Louis people talk about how all these other cities are so much better at getting stuff done and doing new things and as soon as we try to do something similar here those same people start ranting about how St. Louis is dying and we should’t be spending money on anything. Go figure.

    • John

      When some dipshit South City hipster complains to me about STL, I tell them to visit Seattle. Trust me, you’ll wanna shoot yourself in the face after one day there.

      • jhoff1257

        My point was that it’s the “South City hipsters” (whatever that means) that seem to be happier with St. Louis and find ways to enjoy it. It’s the older suburban communities that seem to be down on it.

        • matimal

          Their upset because their investment in suburbia has not been the one-way bet they assumed it would be. Property values in the West End or Soulard have done better than Chesterfield in the last decade.

      • matimal

        “shoot yourself in the face”? Try some deep breathing and a yoga class. I think they’ll help you enormously.

    • DanieljSTL

      It almost seems like expecting failure in St. Louis is part of the culture, as much as Ted Drewes and Cardinals baseball. Remember the Joe Holleman article in the Post about cleaning the streets after a snow storm? How dare we expect the City to clean the streets? After all, this is St. Louis…

      Ever read a comments section on a news article about crime? It’s a place where suburbanites line up to rip the city a new one.

      It’s strange to me that so many people love to hate St. Louis. I don’t get it.

  • JohnThomas52

    I think the negative view of STL may very well be related to job opportunities. It is hard to get a job in STL. A recent KSDK news report told the graduating class of 2014 to look
    for jobs outside of the STL metro area for better job prospects. Even during
    the last major economic recession, many of the area STL employers did not help
    members of their own community who were in desperate need of jobs. There were
    many positions available but they chose not fill them or they chose not to
    create training programs to fill them. Some people left STL to look for work in
    other cities while others went without work for long periods of time. These are the long-term unemployed. What this shows you is that it is difficult to get a job in the STL metro area. That’s the real problem with this city and the surrounding area.

    Since the recession, 90% of all new jobs created are low wage. STL now carries the stigma as a low-wage town. If you lose your job, chances are that your next job will be low wage. Lots of call centers are located here, which signals a low-skill workforce. STL cannot compete nationally or internationally. It is not appealing
    or attractive to companies. There are plenty of fast food workers at McDonald’s,
    Popeyes’, and Wendy’s. They will fight for $15 an hour pay rate but the powers-that-be
    will most likely automate their jobs within 10 years—creating high unemployment in
    this town in the future for a large, low-skill population (former fast food
    workers) that will collect public assistance of some kind. Same for the large
    high school dropouts in the area who can’t find work.

    Also, it comes down to where the good jobs are located. People are very realistic and are motivated to relocate to where the good jobs are at, regardless of the city’s appearance, culture, amenities, etc. Most single people live here to “save up” and then they relocate to a larger city where there are better job opportunities and things to do. I’m not surprised that more young people do not move out of STL for job reasons alone.

    Starting in 2020 and going to 2030, there will be a housing crash in STL as many older baby boomers start to put their homes up for sale all in large numbers (look up “great senior sell off”). The suburbs may actually turn into suburban ghettos as vacant and abandoned homes become the norm. Many homes will not sell and the owners will
    walk away. I would not buy property in STL city or county at all. Most of the housing stock is old housing of 75 to 100+ years old. Those are health hazards and require a lot of money to maintain. Don’t be fooled or lured by affordable home prices right now. What’s the point of being able to buy an affordable house but there are tons of vacant and abandoned properties surrounding where you live when the housing crash happens? If I were in my 20s or 30s, I would not settle in STL at all since the housing crash will cause a lot of economic upheaval in a city with a large population of retirees. There’s a lot of old folks in this town so much so that it can very well be a retirement city destination for old folks looking to retire in a cheap city.

    • PRS1

      Sounds like you need to get laid.

    • Adam

      the WSJ and Forbes disagree with you:

      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/listen-up-college-graduates-7-keys-to-a-happy-life-2014-05-16?siteid=YAHOOB

      http://press.homes.com/homes-com-reveals-top-10-cities-for-new-grads/

      it seems you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in STL’s startup and tech scenes. or do you expect thousands of jobs to materialize overnight?
      as for the supposedly imminent “housing crash” i think you’re bing overly pessimistic. in any case, it’s not an STL-specific problem, so I don’t see why it would effect STL more than other cities.

    • Adam

      also, i’m in my 30s and i intend to settle in STL and buy a house in the city.

    • Adam

      one last thing: color me shocked that our local media would shit all over the city. SHOCKED!

    • Eric7365

      1. It’s hard to get a good job anywhere in the US nowadays. And if you do find a good job, the paycheck will go much further in St Louis than in a big coastal city.

      2. There may be a housing crash in the suburbs, but if so, it will be paired with a boom in the city, because the overall population is not going to crash.

      3. Anyone who thinks old housing is expensive and a “hazard” should try visiting Europe once. There, houses which are centuries old are still in use, and also provide character and quality of life which is completely missing in newer US suburbs.

  • flyover

    There’s no doubt it is the crime. I grew up on the East-side and despite that areas reputation for crime, many folks over there are terrified to go much farther past the ballpark. I know people with cancer who were told they really needed treatment at Barnes and they refused to leave their local hospitals because they didn’t want relatives having to drive in the city. I was in New Orleans last week. Its still a pretty tough town and is one of the towns always mentioned when our “murder capital” annual story runs. I was talking to a valet parking guy about going to a store in an unfamiliar part of town. He gave me the standard, “you got to be careful” speech then asked where I was from. I told him here and he got a big smile, and said, “oh, man, it ain’t that bad.” We don’t have pride like I used to see when I live near Memphis. I once saw a fist fight in Overton Square when a guy made a disparaging statement about the town and a local took offense. We’d just slough it off here. I think local pride was lost in maybe the late 70′s, early 80′s. When the Fortune 500 HQ’s started to leave we pretended it didn’t matter. People would talk about all the great things happening downtown. I’d look around and wonder what they were talking about. but we would all agree. Now, we have an entire generation which doesn’t remember the halcyon days of being a headquarters town. They only know it as a regional office kind of place. Titans of industry and media used to come here to bow down to our corporate leaders. Now, we just bite our nails and hope some big shot in some other town doesn’t close another one of our companies. For too long, our strategy was to steal other companies from other towns. Finally, we are on the right track with trying to grow our own new companies. It will take a lot more than $70k to replace cynicism with boosterism.

    • JohnThomas52

      STL downtown is not an attractive location for young people to
      live and work due to high crime and poor performing schools that is race related. What you see today in STL is segregation in the 21st century. STL is one of the most segregated cities in the US. For outsiders looking in, one thing that they
      find odd is that there is a desegregation program within our public schools in
      which Black students in the city are bused into the predominantly white schools
      in the suburbs. Many outsiders find this odd and can’t wrap their heads around it. Desegregation programs exist because residential segregation exists in STL across racial lines and across pockets of city and suburbs.

      The STL public schools are failing and its future does not look bright. When three failed charter schools transferred their students into the STL public schools, it then lowered the scores on accreditation for STL public schools. This same pattern is found when the failed Wellston school district transferred their students into Normandy school district, which Normandy now has lost its accreditation and some students have been transferred to St. Charles school district, which is farther in the outer-suburbs area. University City, I believe is in the danger zone too now with its provisional accreditation status.The domino effect of students transferring out of failed school districts is that they lower the accreditation scores of the receiving school districts. Now, the proposed law is that transfer students scores won’t count into the receiving district’s overall accreditation score so as to not lower the scores to avoid the domino effect (make the numbers look better than they are).

      This is the price of racism and segregation and is now reflected in lowered home values in the city of STL. Who would want to live in the city and have their kid attend failing STL public schools? Nobody. School quality is a major factor in deciding whether an area is a desirable location to buy a house. There’s absolutely no reason for a house in the city of STL to sell for more than $100K when the schools are so bad, crime is terrible (shootings), and its downright ugly. There’s 6,000+ vacant and abandoned properties owned by the city and 20,000 empty lots in the city as well. The city (outside the loft/business district) is very, very poor. About 90%+ of STL public school kids receive free school lunches because they come from poor families. These are the future, productive citizens of STL.

      White flight from the city from the 1970s and up to this day has led to large, white baby boomer population that reside mostly in STL county or St. Charles co. Most of the suburbs where good school districts are located have older people who will live in their homes until they die. These areas are like retirement neighborhoods now and they lock up access for young families to move in close walking distance to those good schools. When their homes go up for sale en masse, it will create a lot of vacant and abandoned properties and turn their areas into suburban slums (look up “What Will Happen to Grandma’s House When No One Wants to Buy It?”).

      Poor performing schools, poor people, and high crime are just not good selling points to attract new people to live and work in the heart of the city. People have choices and vote with their feet. The fact that you have to market your own city to your own people says a lot about the city. People are not fools. They can see right through it. They have options and can leave STL at any time.

      • John R

        I’m not sure if these are heart-felt comments or tongue-in-cheek “Debbie Downer” whah-wuhs!

        • Adam

          i get the feeling John hasn’t spent time in STL in decades, if ever.

      • matimal

        The majority of young people don’t have kids and downtown’s crime rate has dropped dramatically. There is something like 10,000 more “young people” in downtown St. Louis today than a decade ago. Facts, JohnThomas, we needs facts to have a worthwhile discussion.

      • Adam

        “STL downtown is not an attractive location for young people to
        live and work…”

        which is why the DT population has nearly tripled over the last decade and residential occupancy is >90%.

        “This is the price of racism and segregation and is now reflected in lowered home values in the city of STL.”

        Actually, John, home values are up in the city. And if the baby boomer population resides primarily in the county, doesn’t that contradict your prophecy about the city’s housing market crumbling when all the boomers retire and put their homes up for sale?

        your posts read like a stream of consciousness but you haven’t offered much in the way of evidence. there’s truth to some of the issues you raise (the public schools need work, there are still too many vacant properties, etc.) but others of your points are just silly and demonstrably false (nobody wants to live in the city, there’s no reason for a house to sell for more than $100K, etc.)

        “People are not fools. They can see right through it. They have options and can leave STL at any time.”

        yet things are improving. people are staying. neighborhoods are coming back to life. home values are up. median income is up. more and more charter schools are opening. the tech and startup scenes are growing. etc. etc.

    • Eric7365

      ” I know people with cancer who were told they really needed treatment at Barnes and they refused to leave their local hospitals because they didn’t want relatives having to drive in the city. ”

      The funny thing is there’s no reason for them to drive in the city. MetroLink runs straight from the east side to Barnes.

      • flyover

        It doesn’t run anywhere near these people and that would be the last way they would ever get there, especially at night. I doubt if any of my neighbors in the county would even ride that. Light rail does not mitigate crime. It only puts you closer to it.

        • Adam

          “It doesn’t run anywhere near these people…”

          which is why we should be pursuing expansion as other cities are doing.

          “…and that would be the last way they would ever get there, especially at night. I doubt if any of my neighbors in the county would even ride that. Light rail does not mitigate crime. It only puts you closer to it.”

          complete nonsense. evidence? statistics? i know a number of people who live in the county who ride Metrolink. stop projecting your fears onto everybody else.

          • flyover

            If you are so naive to believe that you are safer riding a train, out in the cold, often alone and in easy proximity to criminals, than in a car, I can’t really help you. The story was Marketing St. Louis to St. Louisans. These people in small towns in adjacent counties do not share your tolerance of crime as a price for city living. If you want them to part of “St. Louis” as so many here often preach, then you might want to stop referring to them as idiots and start understanding their point of view instead of looking down your nose at them because they don’t want to live in an urban environment like you. You may want to ignore the city’s crime as the real reason a lot of people are afraid to not only live there, but even visit there, then live in your bubble. Like it or not, St. Louis has an image problem based on crime. If you travelled outside the region you’d know that. But, the biggest image problem the city has is with those who live adjacent to it. They hear the constant barrage of news reports of murders, rapes and robberies on a daily basis. Is it as bad as they perceive? Probably not. But, that doesn’t mean the perception isn’a real factor in their decision making. I think you would be stunned at the number of them who just don’t want to visit because they are afraid. The truth may hurt. You may not like the truth. But, that doesn’t change it.

          • Alex Ihnen

            I think that is the truth in many ways, but it’s also ignorance. It’s certainly fed by the state of local media. Our fears aren’t always rational, and fears of urban centers have existed for millennia. Today, we know that a person is more likely to die or by injured in a car accident driving to St. Louis, than being killed or injured by another person once in the city. I’m not a believer that St. Louis can “fix” crime – no modern American city as (though some have pushed crime to less noticeable places), and so the difference I see between St. Louis and other cities is mostly one of perception.

          • flyover

            And therein lies the challenge I am trying to present.

          • flyover

            So, if that is the case, how do you fix that? Barring running the train into those small towns, which will never happen in our lifetimes, how do you get them there, if that is the goal?

          • John R

            The goal isn’t to try to attract people with irrational fears…. the goal is to continue to build an urban environment with great amenities for residents and visitors alike. The fact of the matter is that people from all over come and enjoy Saint Louis. It already is a decent tourist town, and things like the Blues Museum and Union Station renovations are going to make it even better. (Plus I think I’ve heard something is going on over at the Arch.)

          • flyover

            So, so far we have labeled suburban and rural people who fear coming to the city as idiots and irrational. I’m sure once they understand that this is all their fault, they will head over the bridge real soon.

          • John R

            People come from suburban and rural areas to Saint Louis all the time…. that is fantastic and they are among the people you target. But there is nothing you can really do for those who have irrational fears and just won’t feel comfortable in the city. That is okay and you move on.

          • flyover

            With apologies to Marshall McLuhan, perception is the message.

          • matimal

            The “perception” of real estate investors is that St. Louis is more valuable today than it has been for decades. How do you explain this?

          • Adam

            how would you label someone who refuses cancer treatment based on the irrational misconception that it’s too dangerous to go to the hospital? is that a smart decision?

          • flyover

            I am trying to convey to you the depth of the perception that this city is unsafe. You have an “if it bleeds, it leads.” media and they don’t live here. That is their window on your town. Is it smart, no. However, if you put yourself in the position of a man who does not want to put his wife in what he perceives as a dangerous position, that has nothing to do with being smart. Why do you think Barnes has opened Siteman facilities all over the region. People are reluctant to come to the city. I am the biggest proponent of Siteman you will ever meet. I have personally driven people there. I have donated, let’s say a lot of money to them. I am simply telling you the way it is. You don’t seem to want to believe it.

          • Adam

            i was thinking, “this is not a completely unreasonable post” until those last couple of sentences. (i don’t buy that Barnes opened facilities across the region because people are too scared to go to the city, however. they opened more locations for the same reason that any other business opens multiple locations.) you can profess to know all you want but it doesn’t mean much without evidence to back it up.

          • flyover

            I invite you to come up to the 7th floor of the Center for Advanced Medicine and talk to people from out of town. Then you will understand.

          • matimal

            I see you are enjoying your medicare. Anyway, I invite you to come to the 20th floor of the Chase Park Plaza and talk to people from out of town. Then you will understand.

          • matimal

            flyover, central neighborhoods in St. Louis are receiving levels of investment they haven’t received for decades. How do you explain this?

          • matimal

            flyover is talking about the middle/middle and lower middle classes who don’t have the skills to get the higher wage jobs in cities and to buy the more expensive property. They understandably seek to rationalize why they don’t do something. It’s not that they reject St. Louis, as St. Louis rejects them. They aren’t productive enough to be worth St. Louis’ while. Their lives only make economic sense on marginal land. This is the big story of stagnant skills and wages among the middle class. It’s the more productive that know how to make use of what cities have to offer. St. Louis needs to attract more of them and leave the marginalized middle-classes alone.

          • Adam

            “I’m sure once they understand that this is all their fault, they will head over the bridge real soon.”

            now this is a little closer to a straw man. what’s their fault? where did anybody say anything is their fault? we’re talking about their perceptions of the city, and whether those perceptions are based in reality or not.

          • flyover

            I’m sure you wear a lot of people out, but I’m retired, I can do this all day.

          • Adam

            good to know. doesn’t make your assertions any more correct.

          • matimal

            You’ll no doubt do your best to remind them of their fears, irrational or otherwise. Intentions matter, and John knows you don’t have good intentions toward St. Louis. Just admit that and the debate can move on.

          • flyover

            And, how does John know that? Intentions seems an odd word to use.

          • matimal

            What are your motivations here? Do you wish St. Louis well or ill? Do you actively work to hurt or help “perceptions” of St. Louis?

          • Adam

            “If you are so naive to believe that you are safer riding a train, out in the cold, often alone and in easy proximity to criminals, than in a car, I can’t really help you.”

            don’t be disingenuous. many many more people die on St. Louis roads and highways each year than from riding Metrolink. that’s a statistic that you can look up.

          • flyover

            The only reason more people die in car accidents is many more people drive. The MetroLink is very limited in its scope. The statistics, if there are any, also wouldn’t include people who have to walk back home from the bus or train stop. No one will ever convince me you are safer on foot than arriving home in a car in the City of St. Louis.

          • Adam

            This is exactly the problem. You say there isn’t enough information, yet you’re convinced that what you believe is the truth.

            “The statistics, if there are any, also wouldn’t include people who have to walk back home from the bus or train stop.”

            go ahead and include those people. i’ll wager that more people, proportionally, still die in car accidents. you’re correct that the information isn’t readily available, but there’s at least enough available to make an estimate. maybe i’ll work on that this evening.

          • flyover

            I can’t wait and while your at it, ask your straw man to help you explain the difference between crime and traffic accidents.

          • Adam

            oh, lord. i know it’s fashionable to appeal to the straw man these days but how about you tell me what straw man i’m presenting. you claimed that people are safer in cars than on public transit or walking to/from public transit. did you not? as a measure of that safety i’m talking about comparing the percentage that dies in auto accidents vs. the percentage that dies from taking transit. please, enlighten us as to how that’s a straw man.

          • flyover

            we were talking about crime. You introduced traffic accidents.

          • Adam

            Did you or did you not write this:

            “It doesn’t run anywhere near these people and that would be the last way they would ever get there, especially at night. I doubt if any of my neighbors in the county would even ride that. Light rail does not mitigate crime. It only puts you closer to it.”

            and this:

            “If you are so naive to believe that you are safer riding a train, out in the cold, often alone and in easy proximity to criminals, than in a car, I can’t really help you.”

            ?

            YOU were arguing about transit with Eric7365 and YOU brought up transit safety before I interjected, so don’t pretend like I redirected the conversation. The record is right here for everyone to see.

          • flyover

            Of course I said all of those things and both of those things are true. Then he said their concerns were irrational because they could just take the train. I pointed out the train doesn’t run to, say, anywhere in Madison County. You are the one who then claimed you are safer riding the train than driving in a car. Using that logic, you are probably safer riding a horse than taking the train as I haven’t seen any deaths in the area from horseback riding, even though many fewer people ride horses. I guess you only count death as a danger. Crime encompasses much more than murder.

          • matimal

            He doesn’t want your “help.” He’s making his own points.

          • flyover

            I think there’s a better way to make a point than call people he doesn’t even know idiots.

          • Adam

            “If you travelled outside the region you’d know that.”

            Actually I’ve lived on the east coast for a number of years now and have travelled pretty extensively around the U.S. I’m not arguing that STL isn’t perceived as dangerous or that perception doesn’t effect people’s behavior, only that those perceptions are not proportional to reality.

          • flyover

            Of course. I volunteer in North St. Louis at least once a week. I was in Hyde Park yesterday when that police chase came across the bridge. I’ve been told where to stand so I won’t get shot. I’ve been pulled over by the cops for “driving while white” to demand what I was doing down there (twice). But, I’ve never been bothered by anyone. But, we’ve got a problem. Here’s an example. Last year, I took my daughter on a college visit in New Orleans. A lady from Indiana asks the tour guide “is it safe here?” The tour guide hemmed and hawed and said, “well, you know, its an urban area, you have to be careful, but, I mean it isn’t anything like St. Louis or Detroit.” I looked at my daughter who isn’t afraid to go anywhere and we had a good laugh. But, that’s what we’re dealing with. These people see Chevy Chase and the Griswold’s getting robbed, where? St. Louis. That movie probably did more to damage this town than anything. Sure, it was funny, but everybody remembers it. Now, take people in Hamel, Illinois, who are surrounded by farms, but who take the Post and watch the local news, they get bombarded with it every day. My only point was we do have a problem and a $70k media buy isn’t going to stop it. I don’t have the answer other than clean up the crime, but, like Alex says, that probably isn’t ever going to be possible.

          • matimal

            There’s nothing like slumming to make you feel superior to others.

          • John R

            “My only point was we do have a problem and a $70k media buy isn’t going to stop it.” Brevity is a virtue…. you should have just stuck with that!

    • Adam

      “I grew up on the East-side and despite that areas reputation for crime, many folks over there are terrified to go much farther past the ballpark. I know people with cancer who were told they really needed treatment at Barnes and they refused to leave their local hospitals because they didn’t want relatives having to drive in the city.”

      This says little about the city itself and volumes about people’s ignorance, naiveté, and irrational fear of the city. I’m sorry, but if you’re dying from cancer and won’t go to one of the best hospitals in the country in one of the nicest neighborhoods in the midwest based on some campfire stories then you’re an idiot. (Note that I’m using “you” in the royal sense here. This is not a personal attack.)

      “Now, we just bite our nails and hope some big shot in some other town doesn’t close another one of our companies. For too long, our strategy was to steal other companies from other towns. Finally, we are on the right track with trying to grow our own new companies.”

      You’re contradicting yourself. Are we biting our nails, or are we being proactive? The truth is there’s some of both going on, but St. Louisans love to focus on the negatives.

      • flyover

        I’d read a comment completely before responding to it if I were you.

        • Adam

          which part didn’t i read?

  • matimal

    In Cincinnati, it’s very much a generational thing. People over 45 or so find great comfort in sharing their contempt and hatred for Cincinnati’s central neighborhoods, (even though support for civic institutions like museums, symphony, and street festivals is surprisingly strong among young and old) while younger people actively work to distinguish themselves from the Old Squares by identifying with the activities in central neighborhoods. Is that going on in St. Louis?

  • Alex Ihnen

    FYI – a couple comments have been deleted because they were personal and/or didn’t add to the conversation.

  • Luftmentsch

    Growing up on Chicago’s North Shore, I would say that the negative feelings and fears about “the city” weren’t all that different from what you hear in Webster Groves, Ballwin, Kirkwood, etc. But that was the 1970′s and early ’80′s! In Chicago and St. Louis, the crime rate has since plunged. “Dangerous” neighborhoods have been cleaned up. Massive housing projects are gone. But there the similarities end. Suburbanites in Chicago take pride in “their city.” Empty-nesters from Glencoe, Winnetka, and Evanston have moved downtown en masse. In St. Louis, there’s still this nervousness and skepticism among suburbanites about whether the city is really “back.” They’ve heard it too many times before. Perhaps they should spend that $70k on bus tours, and targetted trips to city neighborhoods for folks from West County.

    • http://yastlblog.blogspot.com/ Kevin Barbeau

      This is all true. In Chicago, there are no doubts that the City of Chicago is the lifeblood of the region. As it goes, those who live on its periphery know, so go they.

      The City of Chicago acts from a position of power, whereas the City of St. Louis acts from a position of penitence. One is respected and supported, the other dismissed and maligned.

      Basically, I’m saying St. Louis needs to show some (pardon my French) balls. That can come in the form of its decision-making, its responsiveness, and yes, even its marketing.

  • http://yastlblog.blogspot.com/ Kevin Barbeau

    Nothing says “Come to this City!” like seeing a 747 traveling down a desolate, lifeless downtown thoroughfare at dusk. [Edit: Oh wait -- I see a car!]

    It’s true that City residents are more positive about the City than Country residents, but oddly, Illinois residents seem higher on STL than a lot of those who actually live here. Not sure why, really — maybe they’re more loyal/positive because they feel unconnected to their actual state’s metropolitan center. Or maybe it’s because they only visit and see the positive? Worth looking into, I guess.

    I think the most important thing locally is what others have said re: the “Here Is St. Louis” videos — show us people! People like us, people not like us, laughing, moving, experiencing things outside of the standard/worn ExploreSTL “Top Twenty Things To Do” list.

    The problem of marketing to the STL region is much more difficult than just establishing a brand. Here, marketing needs to be focused on adjusting generational opinions and prejudices, whether justified or not. “We’re going to show you what St. Louis is and can be; we want you to be a part of that, but not as a passive partner.”

  • http://reallifestl.com/ Melissa DeCicco

    It is a really difficult question but I think that people feel about their city in a similar manor as their hairstyle for instance. If you have straight hair, you want curly etc. I think that part of our problem is that we spend money on these relatively big budget commercials trying to convince current residents of something. I think the better approach would be to ask them why they value their city instead of always asking negative questions or how to make it better. We just need to adjust how we’re asking.
    We ran a contest a while back because we wanted real St. Louis residents to show us why they Love the Lou and we got some really great responses. If you are interested, I made a playlist of a few of the videos that were submitted by St. Louisans. You can find it here – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdJJMvcYbXnpYyvEXxZdnDSO9gO143o6X (if you only want to watch one video, just watch the contest mash-up)
    People love their city but we need to ask them why and share their responses. I think more people can get behind something like that.

    • jhoff1257

      This commercial was originally made for a national audience. They only recently started running it locally.

  • Imran

    I recall one of the 9 networks programs where they had a representative for downtown Cincinnati explaining that as their downtown made strides there were many naysayers insisting it was hopeless/dangerous etc until a tipping point was passed and then it was suddenly common knowledge that their downtown was a happening place. The outdated narratives of our region are changing too. No point fighting to convince those vehemently opposed to the City. Time will do it for you.

  • Alex Ihnen

    This conversation isn’t going anywhere – comments sections aren’t intended to browbeat one another or repeat tangential arguments ad nauseam in an attempt to win. Hitting pause for a bit.