Oakland tells SF that grass is greener on the other side

OAKLAND, CA: Gentry Communications has been working with the city

of Oakland and advertising agency Young & Rubicam on a campaign to

promote the area's virtues.



Y&R developed a humorous advertising series that points out some of the

benefits of living in Oakland over San Francisco, such as better weather

and lower housing prices. Oakland is often perceived as San Francisco's

poor cousin. "Really want to be taken for a ride?" read one cab

sign.



"Buy a house in San Francisco."



The ads have been running on the tops of taxi cabs, at bus stops, and in

newspapers, and have been attracting attention from the media. The Los

Angeles Times and the local public radio station have both run stories

on the campaign. Gentry has been charged with media relations.



"People are finding the campaign to be humorous and tongue-in-cheek,"

said Patricia Kalfee, Gentry's director of business development, "but I

am surprised at the number of people identifying with it."



The primary spokesman for the campaign has been William Claggett,

executive director for the community- and economic-development

agency.



But promoting Oakland has been high on Mayor Jerry Brown's agenda since

he took office in 1999. The former California governor and media-savvy

mayor has used such platforms as MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews,

The New York Times, and The Economist to boost Oakland's profile.



"Oakland and Jerry Brown have some similarities," said Samee Roberts,

Oakland's marketing manager. "He was often misunderstood as governor,

and Oakland is, likewise, a misunderstood city."



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