September 03, 2004
The word spreads

Last week I saw a neighbor wearing an It's Worth It button. Yesterday I saw an It's Worth It bumper sticker on a car. That's already way more popular acceptance of any marketing scheme for the city of Houston than I've ever seen.

Scroll down to "Is This Job Worth It?" in this week's Hairballs and you'll see that the HIWI scheme may have one more salutary benefit.

When you get elected mayor of the country's fourth-largest city despite being charisma-free, you tend to be thankful to the guys who ran your ad campaign. And Houston Mayor Bill White certainly is.

So when those ad guys -- the company sports the precious name ttweak -- put together a pro-bono PR campaign to boost Houston's image, you would think most city bureaucrats would say it's just wonderful.

That's not, however, what Jordy Tollett did. Tollett, the head of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, has been giving a cold shoulder to ttweak's "Houston -- It's Worth It" campaign. He told the Houston Chronicle the campaign's point -- listing things like heat and traffic, then saying the city is still Worth It -- only highlights negative aspects of what he prefers to call Space City. He later refused to talk to a New York Times reporter for a story on it.

White is annoyed and is looking to oust Tollett, the rumor mill says.

It's not that I have anything personal against Jordy Tollett. It's just that I think he's a twit, and the city would be better served by some new blood. And frankly, Tollett's past history in Houston marketing plus his nose-up reaction to the HIWI program is just more evidence of that. So color me moderately optimistic by this rumor.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 03, 2004 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

It's been my experience that people tend to be more receptive to people or entities that can poke fun at themselves, providing it's done in the right manner. I think HIWI is the right way to do it; Houston isn't the most livable place on Earth, unless you like big, ugly bugs and 6-month summers full of heat and humidity that you'll spend a lot of sitting in traffic. But there's a lot of good about Houston and the HIWI campaign does a good job of reminding people that no place is perfect and that there are plenty of good things about Houston.

Posted by: Sue on September 3, 2004 8:27 AM

It reminds me of a Utah advertising campaign from a few years back -- probably the mid-80's.

"Utah, it's a pretty, great state"

Boosters spent a long time explaining exactly why the comma was important, but I never got the impression it sunk in.

Of course, the campaign was only used inside the state, thus raising the question of why it was necessary to sell the place to people who already lived there...

Posted by: David on September 4, 2004 7:46 PM

After getting curious on Mr Tollet's recent activity, I came upon this posting. Mr Tollett's jaded and self serving past seems to never be a concern to Houston. A man that is always labeled as a Houstainian, yet lives out of town. Not to long ago Mr Tollet avoided career damage from accounts that he was using City funds to visit "adult oriented" entertainment. during this time period, he married his current wife... a dancer from Rick's. The funds lost to these clubs were considerable. The supposed reasons was to provide entertainment for possible Conventioneers, but logic states otherwise. Having had some inside connection within Mr Tollet's circle... I know that he has even made physical threats to individuals when friends of his wife tried to intervene early in their relattionship. Of course Mr Tollet, being the small stature, Napolean type, would never think of using his own hands on someone. Instead he attempted to recruit 'muscle' to intimidate friends of his wife from contacting her. He made her burn any photos, letters and cards that she saved from her life before him.
This man is self serving and is not what I want my city, Houston, to be represented by.

Posted by: Stan Smythe on September 10, 2005 11:02 AM

Come on!! What the heck is up with the people who oversee the this cities public held positions? Does anyone at city hall have a minute to take the cotton out of their ears, their sleeping mask off and the chips out of their mouths? Get this joker out of this office!

Posted by: annm on August 2, 2006 10:24 PM