What’s Your Abilene Story?

April 5, 2019Kelly Thompson, Communications Director for the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau

On a few spring, autumn and winter days, all of them occurring last month, I enjoyed the treat of flying around town with the creative minds of Pink Goose Media. Our assignment was to revive and refresh the award-winning “I Am Abilene” campaign, first launched by the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) in 2013.

That iconic series was conceived with the goal of empowering locals to take pride in the people and places in the city, to recognize it as a fun place to live and visit. We also wanted to remind everyone when you invite guests of all stripes, friends and family, professional associations, clubs, sports teams, you name it, you help create tourism for the city. We want everyone to proudly show off the town.

Finding a cast of passionate people to participate in our TV spots was easy. The responses were inspirational. Every single person not only said “Yes,” but “Heck yes, because….” People wanted to show their pride of place, to contribute to civility, to remind everyone about all the reasons to love their hometown.

The hard part was narrowing down the list. Our city has too many industries, fun places, and generous, community-minded folks to fit into a few 30-second spots.

I tried to collect their Abilene stories along the way. That was fun. Some of our stars were born and raised here or nearby. Several were military or folks who went to finish their education and then brought their talents back to Abilene. Many had stepped out on faith to open their own businesses. A few had been beguiled by the charms of local women, moving here to work and raise a family. Each was profoundly proud of this community and their role in it.

I found the same enthusiasm from other partners. I send a huge shout-out to the local TV stations for eagerly signing on to join this effort. When I asked managers if they would support airing “I am Abilene” as a public service, they jumped at it. Everyone wanted to throw good vibes on the tube and social media.

Some even acknowledged the country might have to weather the storms of divisive rhetoric in the months ahead. Everyone wanted to contribute to a climate that celebrates the community.

Right now, the “I am Abilene” footage is undergoing its magical montage. We think everyone will get to see it just as the city celebrates National Travel & Tourism Week May 5-11.

The nationwide theme for Tourism Week 2019 is “Travel Matters.” That’s a story the ACVB strives to share every day. Travel mattered to Abilene’s economy to the tune of $455 million and 4,000 jobs during 2017. We’re eager to see the 2018 data when it is released this summer.

Help us share that story. Keep your eyes open for the debut of the new “I am Abilene” spots and print ads. When you watch those smiling people share their community pride, think about your own Abilene story. After all, you are Abilene. We all are. Let’s share our stories.

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