A five-month-long shop local campaign involving businesses across the Hilltops has been endorsed by council in response to the impact of COVID-19.
#ShoptheHilltops will include targeted social media, online, and radio advertising between August and December, promoting businesses that offer online and over the phone shopping experiences.
The campaign was endorsed at council's July meeting on Wednesday, July 22.
The key marketing messages are "#ShoptheHilltops", "If you can't come to the Hilltops, we'll send the Hilltops to you", and "buy local, or bye local".
The new marketing campaign has been introduced following the cancellation of the National Cherry Festival, Boorowa Irish Woolfest and Harden Kite Festival in their traditional form in 2020.
COVID-safe and virtual activity programs will instead promote the respective towns (see ideas below).
Council also endorsed marketing plans for a Hilltops Spring Promotion (focusing on Boorowa and Harden), Hilltops Summer Promotion (focusing on Young), and See You In Boorowa campaign to stimulate the local economy in the absence of council's major events.
Mayor Brian Ingram commended ideas for virtual activities, including online market stalls, but reminded council should be cautious about visitation from outside the region.
"Given things at the present time, and the latest news coming out of Victoria, I have got no real inclination, as much as I feel for all our local businesses, of wanting to attract too many people to our area in any great hurry given what's going on around us. Virtual world, that's fine, I really think we have to have a long hard think about what we are asking for with these festivals and what benefits and what negatives they might bring to our communities this year," he said.
A number of COVID-safe and virtual activities to promote the region have been put forward to council from residents to help celebrate the major events.
COVID-safe and virtual activities:
- Shop window displays
- Art and sculpture exhibitions
- Canola self-drive tours
- Promotion of the cherry harvest and related activities including 'pick your own'
- Shop local campaign which may include a passport with stamps obtained from participating businesses to encourage local spending
- Virtual markets, demonstrations and tours showcasing local businesses and produce
- Themed photography competitions
- Inflatable screen drive-in movie night/s
- Virtual themed demonstrations e.g. kite making, sheep mustering, cherry picking, knitting and cooking
- Busking/virtual busking competition
- Use of the cherry costume (Mr Cherry) during the cherry harvest
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