Best Television PSAs

"This is St. Louis" media campaign

To thrive, civic-marketing wonks argue, a city must attract and retain creative young people -- not just yuppies and dot-commers and advertising jerks but their less affluent boho counterparts, the feckless, glamorous artist-types who tend the cool bars and form the cool bands and otherwise convince their tax-base-bolstering peers that they're in a happening place, one in which they might well consider settling down for good. That St. Louis is just such a place is the tacit message in Marc Syp and Steven Fitzpatrick Smith's poetic, subtle and visually arresting publicity campaign, funded on a shoestring by its creators and Metropolis St. Louis. Despite its tiny budget, "This Is St. Louis" makes an argument that's about 900 times more effective than anything the overpaid, underbrained drones of the RCGA could possibly concoct: Live here not because it's cheap or because our sports teams kick ass or because you're too much of a slacker to hack it in a real city but because St. Louis is uniquely beautiful. The ten 30-second commercials, shot by Syp on 16mm film, are little love letters to the city: One segment celebrates the sights and sounds of Soulard Market; another rattles along the spectacular Eads Bridge by way of MetroLink to musical accompaniment by St. Louis' own Red Squares. In one of the most memorable spots, the majestic World's Fair Pavilion in Forest Park frames a spectacular lightning storm at dusk. Syp's images are luminous, painterly, suffused with a languid mystery. Augmented with local-band soundtracks and real-life testimonials from interesting people who moved here because they wanted to, the commercials are tiny masterpieces, cinematic postcards from the most underrated city in the world.

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