Charm City Necklace
An mirrored acrylic necklace inspired by the 1975 ad campaign that solidified Baltimore as Charm City.
The nickname “Charm City” traces its origins only back to 1975 ; it grew out of creative conferences among four of the city’s leading advertising executives and creative directors: Dan Loden and art director Stan Paulus of VanSant/Dugdale; Herb Fried and writer Bill Evans from W. B. Donor. As leaders of the city’s largest advertising agencies, they had come together at then Mayor William Donald Schaefer’s request to “come up with something to promote the city. And do it now! I’m worried about this city’s poor image.”
By James D. Dilts
Baltimore was designated "Charm City, U.S.A.," yesterday by the Baltimore Promotion Council, which announced a $40,000 advertising campaign to lure tourists and conventions here. The campaign consists of half-page ads that will be run in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago newspapers "when we are ready to receive visitors," Daniel J. Loden, vice president of Van-Sant, Dugdale & Co., Inc., said.
The "Charm City, U.S.A." promotion, prepared as a community service by the Van-Sant, Dugdale firm and W.B. Doner & Co., another local advertising agency, was presented yesterday at the quarterly meeting of the Baltimore Promotion Council, the city's official booster agency.
The ad is made up primarily of a photo montage of Baltimore scenes: Blaze Starr on The Block, the U.S.F. Constellation, the Washington Monument, new downtown buildings and white marble steps, under the headline: "Baltimore has more history and unspoiled charm tucked away in quiet corners than most American cities put in the spotlight."
"While the wrecking balls of other cities have been busy leveling tradition in the name of progress, Baltimore has been meticulously rerouting progress around its history," according to the ad, which points out that 16 registered national historic landmarks exist within a few miles of the city's modern downtown.
Coupled with the ad campaign is a free "Charm City, U.S.A." charm bracelet that will be available to tourists at the promotion council's visitors center in Hopkins place. Tourists who pick up the bracelet will be able to add individual charms to it as they tour Fort McHenry, the Lexington Market and Baltimore's other attractions.
"The cynical may laugh," acknowledged Mr. Loden as he described the bracelet promotion, "but it's a city of charms, and we have to believe that."
Some of the inspiration for the campaign came from taped interviews with new employees at the advertising firms who came to Baltimore from other cities, Mr. Loden said. Some of the tapes were played yesterday for the audience of about 50 promotion council members and assorted civic boosters assembled in the Roman Holiday Room of the Holiday Inn Downtown.
The new Baltimoreans, in a variety of accents, described their enthusiasm for the city's sports, seafood, symphony orchestra, friendly people and sense of history.
"I think it's just great, " said Mayor Schaefer of the new promotion campaign. He also praised the "Trashball" campaign thought up by the Van-Sant Dugdale agency.
"It was just beginning to catch on before we had this strike on our hands," the Mayor said.
"Some of the streets are cleaner now than they have ever been because people are getting out and cleaning it up themselves," the Mayor said.
"It's a good lesson, and Trash-ball was the start of it."
Some of the promotion council spokesmen appeared somewhat self-conscious yesterday about the timing of the "Charm City, U.S.A." announcement amid a heat wave and garbage strike.
"When I walked through Hopkins Plaza, the first thing I saw was the trash," said Mr. Loden. "Then it occurred to me that I was looking down. When I looked up, I saw the city a-building [in the Inner Harbor project], and the Constellation."
The promotion council meeting and the announcement were planned 'several weeks before the strike, a spokesman said. Mr. Loden added that the first ad had been scheduled for later in the month in the New York Times, but that, "We will probably wait until the city is cleaned up. We don't want any national news being run while our ad is being run."
Scattered interviews yesterday with tourists and convention-goers indicated that while Baltimore might not yet have achieved "Charm City" status in their minds, it is not "Garbage City" to them either. They were more impressed with Baltimore's historic attractions than with the mounting trash.
"It hasn't inconvenienced me," said E. Robert Norris, of the strike. A representative of the Lutheran Church in America attending the national Lutheran convention, which ended yesterday, Mr. Norris, of Westfield, N.J., praised the convention facilities at the Civic Center and their proximity to the downtown hotels.
"I'd come back to visit the historic sites." said John E. Hugus, of Naples, Fla., another conventiongoer."