Advertising firm pushes ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ in Red Bank


RED BANK – An advertising campaign that has been crafted to entice visitors to explore Red Bank has started to make its imprint on the town.

In 2018, the conclusion of a series of strategic meetings gave stakeholders in Red Bank an economically viable vision of enhancements that could be made in the downtown district.

The meetings, which were held over five months, included Red Bank stakeholders who met to discuss a course of action for a redevelopment initiative that could be leveraged to encourage an increase in the number of visitors, consumers and tourists in Red Bank.

During a Borough Council meeting on Oct. 23, Jim Scavone, the executive director of Red Bank RiverCenter, which promotes the downtown businesses, said a five-year marketing strategy was suggested in the strategic plan.

He said the Spitball Creative Advertising Agency developed a “very exciting” advertising campaign over the course of several months. The campaign has already been introduced to the town.

“We really dug deep into what Red Bank represents,” Scavone said of the marketing campaign.

Sam Underwood, a communications strategist at Spitball, said some visitors associate Red Bank with the one attraction they came to visit. He said visitors should look for other “unexpected experiences and discoveries” in town.

“So how do we align the strategic plan with all of Red Bank’s offerings?” Underwood said. “… We said how do we make a campaign that tells people your plan for discovery has already been curated for you in Red Bank?”

Underwood said the borough appears to be “in constant need of reinvention.”

“Whatever brings you here initially, it’s all of the unexpected discoveries along the way that make how (a visitor) experiences Red Bank your own work of art,” said Nick Velardi, a designer at Spitball.

The marketing campaign is driven by what Velardi referred to as illustrated hero images. The advertising relies on imagery rather than words to entice people to explore Red Bank.

The signs, which are black and red, are a visual collage of the amenities the borough offers. Features such as music notes, cocktails and paint brushes are placed together to form the basis of a larger image.

The larger images also showcases borough amenities, such as a wine glass to symbolize the variety of dining establishments in Red Bank.

The signs, which read “Red Bank, A Work of Art,” are “sophisticated and fun,” Velardi said.

Velardi said the signs should be treated like a game. Visitors who observe the signs could be enticed to explore the borough if they notice an interesting symbol or amenity indicated in the artwork.

At present, the signs have been fastened to lamp posts in the English Street Plaza and the White Street parking lot.

Velardi said the illustrations will appear on additional banners, in print publications and online. Photos taken at Red Bank businesses will also appear in advertising, he said.

“Red Bank has so much to offer and we want to showcase that not through stock photography … but through the beautiful craftsmanship that really does make each of the businesses a work of art,” Velardi said.

Scavone said the advertising campaign debuted in print programs at the Count Basie Center for the Arts and at the Two River Theater.

Mayor Pasquale Menna asked Scavone if the advertising will appear outside of Red Bank.

Scavone said the new advertising will appear in state and county tour guides and on social media.

“I think we should advertise to people who are not already here to get them here,” Menna said of the local campaign.