Visit South Bend Mishawaka ends promotional campaign after complaints it was copied from Utah agency

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

(Spencer Marsh/95.3 MNC)

Local tourism and marketing organization Visit South Bend Mishawaka ended its recently launched “There’s nothing to do in South Bend” marketing promotion after a Utah tourism agency complained that it was an almost exact copy of their campaign.

The “There’s nothing to do in South Bend” promotional campaign included a YouTube video promoting the various attractions in the South Bend area and a website that included information about businesses in the region. Rob DeCleene, executive director of Visit South Bend Mishawaka, told AdWeek that he intended to copy the “There’s nothing to do in Salt Lake” campaign launched by Visit Salt Lake and Love Communications in Utah in 2015.

“We did quote-unquote debut it last week. But we have no intention of doing anything with it, if you will,” DeCleene told AdWeek. “It’s literally a one-off, isolated promotion. If anything, it’s truly meant to give props to Salt Lake, because for a city that size, 1,500 miles away from us, we just thought, ‘Wow, that’s killer.’ “

But the people at Love Communications and Visit Salt Lake were not happy when they saw the campaign. Chip Haskell, creative director at Love Communications, wrote a sarcastic, scathing letter to Explore Media, the company that executed the campaign for DeCleene. Haskell also sent it to AdWeek.

“All I can say is ‘Wow.’ As in, ‘Wow!’ ” Haskell wrote. “The color palette, the fonts, the headlines, the copy, the photos — they’re all so cool and really work together! Now I hate to use the word ‘brilliant’ unless I’m writing copy for a dentist who’s selling some sort of whitening gel for people’s teeth, so I won’t use that word. Instead, I’ll use the word ‘unbelievable’—as in, it’s really unbelievable how fresh and awesome your campaign is.”

Read more about this story and see the comparisons between the two campaigns in the story from AdWeek.