By Brice Wallace

A new state promotional campaign, dubbed “In Utah,” will focus on encouraging Utahns to support local businesses and nonprofits to goose the state’s economy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The campaign is being launched and managed by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). The first part of its rollout focused on the health and wellness of Utahns. Using legislatively approved funds, GOED selected the campaign prepared by Salt Lake City-based Rumor Advertising. “In Utah” is designed to work in tandem with the state’s existing coronavirus.utah.gov efforts on the health side and support other GOED economic development initiatives across various industries on the business reactivation side.

Pete Codella, director of marketing and communications at GOED, briefed the GOED board recently about the campaign, showing how the “In Utah” phrasing and logo could be tailored by stakeholders. Industry-specific examples include “Shop In Utah,” “Grow In Utah,” “Dine In Utah,” “Play In Utah,” “Stay In Utah” and “Work In Utah.”

“It touches on all the aspects for GOED,” Codella said. “This campaign was selected because the message was so clear and it was really versatile. We really liked how we could apply it to a lot of things for economic development.”

GOED envisions municipalities, associations, organizations, celebrities, athletes, teams, nonprofits and businesses using the campaign to show support for a healthy Utah, from both wellness and economic perspectives. That support can come in the form of displaying “In Utah” signage at physical locations and online, sponsoring promotions and giveaways, and ordering and distributing or selling “In Utah” promotional items.

During the GOED board briefing, Codella displayed images showing concepts for billboards, streetside banners, magazine ads and baseball caps.

“We want to be collaborative and work with all of these other groups so that there’s an ‘In Utah’ message for them, and all of us working together can really help reactivate our economy,” Codella told the board.

“I think it’s going to be well-received,” said Val Hale, GOED’s executive director. “Everybody who’s seen it so far has been very positive about it. And it’s very versatile. It can be used for a lot of different things.”

In a special session earlier this year, the Legislature asked for an economic reactivation campaign and later requested a public information campaign to encourage healthy activity during the pandemic. GOED incorporated three outreach efforts into its contract with Rumor, which will be paid $2.1 million through year-end. Funding is from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We’re thrilled the state saw value in our clear, concise and positive ‘In Utah’ campaign,” Shane O’Toole, founder and CEO of Rumor Advertising, said in a prepared statement. “Our team has been hard at work for several weeks developing creative concepts we believe will help shape public attitudes and behaviors. We appreciate the trust placed in us and vow to use the CARES Act monies allocated for the campaign carefully.”

The multimedia campaign will feature a website (inutah.org) and social media platforms as well as mass media components.

During a recent GOED podcast, Tyler Sohm, vice president and executive creative director at Rumor Advertising, said the campaign’s flexibility and expandability allows for wide participation. “We feel like the ability to ask people to be involved in something is a universal idea,” Sohm said, “regardless of what industry you’re in.”

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