Reality TV show gives tiny Tonopah new tourism ad
October 14, 2011
LAS VEGAS (AP) – A small Nevada mining town has a new pitch for tourists driving the lonely road between Las Vegas and Reno: Visit us, we’re different.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/qDiA6k ) the silver mining town of Tonopah received the TV commercial as part of a cable reality show where two Internet comedians create campaigns for quirky local businesses.
The ad promotes a different pace of life, plus off-beat offerings like a clown motel, antler art and paranormal happenings.
The commercial won approval from town leaders who were initially skeptical.
“It might generate some interest from people driving through between Las Vegas and Reno,” said town board member Duane Downing. Tonopah is about 240 miles from Reno and 215 miles from Las Vegas along U.S. Route 95.
But town manager James Eason says the town of 2,500 residents can’t afford big-city TV time to air the ad.
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Eason said he liked the ad when it was finished, even though he told comedians Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal that their initial ideas were “asinine.”
“I was very worried about what they were going to do,” said Eason, who grew up in Tonopah. “We’re very proud of our town and who we are. We don’t want to be the butts of anyone’s jokes.”
Neal said he and McLaughlin originally planned to create an ad for a Tonopah store, stopping in town in between making ads for a Reno roller skating rink and a service in Las Vegas that shuttles drunk people and their cars home from the bar.
But once the comedians got to know Tonopah, they decided it needed a tourism campaign.
“It is, indeed, in the middle of nowhere. But it’s worth visiting,” Neal said. “That’s what I discovered. It’s worth the drive.”
Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com