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Downtown Goes Uptown in Effort to Boost Business : Marketing: Ad agency's campaign will target local residents in an effort to keep leisure-time dollars in town.


GLENDALE — What's in a name? A lot of money for Glendale merchants, according to an advertising firm's plans to gloss up the city's reputation as a place to dine, shop and have fun.

The keynote of the $310,000 campaign will be to rename Glendale's downtown "Uptown," complete with a logo and banners touting the new name and image. It will primarily target Glendale residents in an effort to keep their leisure-time dollars in town, but will also try to pull in new business from La Crescenta, Los Feliz and other surrounding areas.

The plan by Hawkins Advertising of Newport Beach received the informal endorsement of the Glendale Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday. The company will launch the campaign next month as Glendale's offensive in an escalating battle among cities competing for a greater share of dwindling revenues in an economic slump.

The promotional campaign is designed to boost not only the downtown redevelopment zone but other retail centers such as the Montrose Shopping Park, Adams Square and the Kenneth Road Village, as well as car dealerships and neighborhood commercial centers.

"The effort, really, is to promote retail and commerce throughout the city," said Kirk W. Pelser, administrative analyst for the redevelopment agency. Brochures and mass-mailings are planned to tell people that "they don't need to leave Glendale to find anything. We have it all," Pelser said.

The ad campaign is just one of a series of plans by Glendale to boost the city's image in a quest for a greater share of sales tax revenues. "We have a whole raft of programs we hope will step up the economy," City Manager David H. Ramsay on Tuesday told the City Council, which serves as the five-member redevelopment agency.

Other programs include a $2.7-million renovation of sidewalks, street furniture and lights along the redevelopment zone on Brand Boulevard and city grants to businesses to help rejuvenate storefronts.

Brochures will be mailed June 1 to about 100,000 households, touting the advantages of patronizing businesses in town.

The brochures will include a map of commercial centers throughout the city as well as a guide to downtown--er, Uptown, officials said.

Separate pamphlets with the same basic message will be mailed in May and June with utility bills to about 120,000 households, including families in the La Crescenta area, said Janet Hawkins, president of the public relations firm. She said the promotional campaign will be staged in phases to involve both the downtown area and other commercial centers.

Plans outlined Tuesday include cleaning up dirty, vacant storefronts along Brand Boulevard, hanging banners along the boulevard depicting a colorful new Uptown logo--which shows icons representing food, shopping and the arts--and covering vacant windows with painted segments of the new logo. Street vendors, which have been banned by the city, may be encouraged at some corners to create the atmosphere of a casual village, officials said.

"We want to sell an image of what Brand Boulevard can be," said Hawkins, whose firm also represents the cities of Santa Ana and Garden Grove. She said the program is designed to present Glendale "as a vital, bustling area" with upscale shops, fine dining and an array of entertainment. "We want it to look as if something different, something new is happening," she said.

Hawkins said surveys indicate that many potential customers of Glendale businesses are longtime residents who were drawn to the city by its old-fashioned, Midwest atmosphere but lost interest in the downtown area when redevelopment began more than 20 years ago.

She said the promotional campaign will try to portray the redevelopment zone as a place to stroll, while touting neighborhood centers in other parts of the city for their convenience and array of services. "We need to wake people up to what is here," she said.

Up to $1.5 million in city funds has been committed by the agency to a series of programs recommended by an economic advisory committee formed last year by the city to stimulate the local economy.

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