Advertising on the Edge – Louisville Gets Controversial

The city of Louisville recently launched the Share Louisville campaign. It consists of a website and some videos, which also run as television commercials, about the city. The videos are, like the one embedded in this post, somewhat controversial. Locally, some people love them and other people hate them. This quote from the website sums up the attitude:

In Chicago, a woman wakes up to garbage trucks and car alarms instead of chirping birds. Somewhere a man is sharing a tiny apartment with a rat named Terry. And it's not his pet. In Las Vegas, a man is mowing his dirt.

Everywhere in America people are suffering and leading sad, empty lives. Everywhere except in a city called Louisville, where anything is possible.

Are the videos in bad taste? Yes. Some of them probably are. But I think that was the point. If the city had run another "blah blah, this city is great" campaign, no one would have paid any attention. By being unique and controversial, at least people are talking about it. I'm not crazy about the ads, but I applaud the Greater Louisville Community Branding Project for showing some guts. That is the kind of attitude it takes to encourage real change, and to get things done.

  • I’ll admit, I was a little embarrassed the first time I saw one of these commercials. However, I think that there is some truth to their message. I’m interested in seeing the results. Let me know if you have any insider information.

  • You know what? I love that ad! It may be slightly exaggerated, but that is a fact of life in Atlanta. Yes, it’s the geographical equivalent of negative campaigning, but, well, negative campaigning works. And it’s okay to contrast what you have to offer with what others are offering. Go ahead and point out that Louisville is nice and green and has short commutes and that Phoenix is blast furnace 3 months of the year and rock is the state flora. I might think “Hey, that sounds pretty nice. If somebody in Louisville offers me a better standard of living, I might go there.” Or not, but you gave it your best shot!


  • (Disclosure): I work for one of the three agencies responsible. I won’t comment on the good-bad of the ads, but would encourage you to go to the site ( and listen to the radio spots. They’re a little different, but still attempting to build some community pride and buy-in for the campaign. Enjoy, and thanks to Rob for sharing this with others … good or bad, we’re getting reaction!

  • I like them! I’ve watched everyone and YES it gets your attention. It’s not your everyday, “Come check out our city,” ad.

    Controversy always gets attention and sells. Way to stir the pot