ASTORIA — If you were around the Columbia River Maritime Museum early Wednesday morning, April 3, you might have seen Drew Carney, KGW Morning Show’s “Out and About” host, climbing on a U.S. Coast Guard rescue boat, escaping from a rescue raft and hopping on the Astoria Riverfront Trolley.

Carney is a cog in the Oregon’s North Coast Marketing Coalition’s spring 2013 promotional campaign, which kicked off March 18. It runs until late April with KGW and KINK-FM (101.9). The entire campaign has a value of well over $60,000.

It includes Carney’s visit, television ads on KGW, radio spots on KINK, web advertising, email newsletters, social media and four vacation package giveaways. The closing message of the campaign is “Come play.”

The coalition is a partnership between the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce, Seaside Visitors Bureau and, new in 2013, the Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce. In 2011 and 2012, the group created a marketing program highlighting Oregon’s North Coast.

Greg Robeson of Robeson Communications said the coalition started in the spring of 2011 with a $10,000 tourism promotion grant from Travel Oregon with a match requirement.

“It was originally Seaside and Astoria that each gave $5,000,” said Robeson. “With that, our initial task was to create a brand.”

The coalition took the Oregon Coast Visitors Association’s brand “Oregon: The People’s Coast” and created a northern subregion. A photo contest they later held through KGW in the spring of 2012 brought back 900 results, which Robeson said was the most successful photo contest the television station has ever had.

He said that while the coalition presented at a Lower Columbia Tourism Committee meeting last year, people were wondering why it couldn’t do television and radio spots, an expensive option.

“We thought we could get more through a promotion,” said Robeson. “It’s about engagement.”

The Astoria, Seaside and Cannon Beach partners each gave $20,000 to this new campaign.

The vacation packages being given away include those centered around Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach and a final one that allows entrants to create their own dream North Coast vacation.

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Each package includes dinners, lunches and other local attractions. All contest package contents were donated by the entities providing the attractions and food.

Regina Willkie, marketing manager for the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber, said that the cities are at the same time unique and complementary to one another with their diverse attractions, so it made sense working together on a campaign. “It was reminding people that they can go between the communities.”

The overall message in the current campaign is to call up nostalgia about Oregon’s North Coast and energize regional residents to plan a trip to the coast. Visitors will be directed to learn more about local communities and plan their visit.

Along with the city groups’ financial support, the campaign drew in $2,100 apiece from four Clatsop County hotels: Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa, Holiday Inn Express Astoria, The Ocean Lodge and Best Western Ocean View. The additional funding helped with radio spots.

“I think it’s important that people understand the differences in the communities on the coast,” said Caroline Wuebben, general manager at the Holiday Inn, which sponsored the fourth vacation package.

“I hope the residents of the north coast are as enthusiastic about the campaign as we are,” said Willkie. “Telling the viewers that we are here and open for business even in this typically light travel season is so important. The message and images we’ve created for this program are outstanding; we’ve set up a great groundwork for this marketing partnership and look forward to this program expanding and evolving in the coming years.”

Learn more at the Lower Columbia Tourism Committee’s page on (direct link:

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