From woe to whoa!

Buy your coffee from locally owned coffee shops rather than big chains, suggests one northern Nevada resident, as a way to help the local economy recover.

Another reminds restaurant and bar restaurants to tip their waiters.

And a third suggests that the region create a tax-free zone for new employers who relocate from other states.

These are among suggestions posted by northern Nevada residents on a Web site launched by First Independent Bank of Nevada as it launches a campaign it's dubbed "From Woe to Whoa."

The bank's goal, says President Jim Devolld, is to begin focusing on positive actions that northern Nevada residents and business owners can undertake to kick-start the region's economy.

"We decided to set about changing the local mindset, to encourage people to think about every single item they purchase locally and really commit to doing it," he says.

The campaign had its roots in a newspaper column that DeVolld published during the holiday season in which he encouraged consumers to shop at local merchants.

The positive reaction to that column was so strong that First Independent Bank asked its advertising agency, Octane Studios of Reno, to find ways to carry the idea further.

The campaign that Octane developed is fairly simple.

The bank launched a Web site, from, that provides visitors with an opportunity to make suggestions about ways to improve the regional economy.

By last week, nearly 40 people had responded with suggestions that range from the macro (spend more money promoting tourism) to the micro (go out to lunch at a local diner).

Visitors can click to vote on the ideas they particularly like, and the bank is looking for ways to spotlight the ideas that draw wide support, Devolld says.

"It's going to be fun and upbeat," he says.

Among the best possible outcomes, Devolld says, would be the development of an idea on the Web site into a local stimulus campaign that would draw national attention.

"We hope the rest of northern Nevada will run with it," he says.

Dave Longfield, a partner in Octane Studios, says the strong early response to the Web site is particularly noteworthy because the bank hasn't invested heavily in traditional advertising to drive consumers to the site.

The Web campaign has been supported by billboards, some newspaper ads and some radio spots, he says.

But largely the site is working as a demonstration of social media a place where users can get together and share ideas, and a site that's beginning to generate its own momentum.

"We're proud of this because it's a new thing for us," Longfield says.

And he says the agency is proud of the campaign because it's generating exposure for First Independent Bank at a time when banks face difficulties getting their messages to consumers.

"There's no traditional bank advertising that is going to work in an environment like this," Longfield says.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment