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Federal Way hopes TV ad lures businesses

Seattle Sounders player Lamar Neagle and Wild Waves Theme Park CEO Jeff Stock worked with Kelly Maloney (center), the city and Federal Way Chamber on a TV commercial. The ad is expected to air in January and will tout Federal Way as a business destination. - Courtesy photo
Seattle Sounders player Lamar Neagle and Wild Waves Theme Park CEO Jeff Stock worked with Kelly Maloney (center), the city and Federal Way Chamber on a TV commercial. The ad is expected to air in January and will tout Federal Way as a business destination.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Federal Way is producing a TV commercial aimed at luring more businesses and people to the city.

Set to debut in January, the ad features two hometown celebrities who pitch a new marketing message: “Think smart. Move fast. Think Federal Way.” Wild Waves Theme Park CEO Jeff Stock and Seattle Sounders soccer player Lamar Neagle, who attended Thomas Jefferson High School, were recruited for the ad. Stock also owns Omni Properties and coffee company Caffe D’arte.

With a young pro athlete and a successful business leader touting the advantages of living and doing business in Federal Way, the ad campaign is intended to rebrand the city’s image.

However, the ultimate goal is to fill the city’s vacant commercial real estate. Nearly 750,000 square feet of office space (30 percent) sits empty.

“We’re trying to get onto people’s radar screens,” said Patrick Doherty, director of economic development. The project is intended to plant the idea for regional business owners to relocate to Federal Way. Doherty doesn’t expect people to pick up the phone immediately upon viewing the commercial. However, the ad could encourage businesses to consider the city when looking for opportunities to expand in the future.

“We are worming our way into people’s brains that they’ll eventually move here,” he said, citing Renton as a poster child for municipal media campaigns in the region. “It’s a minor thing, it’s almost subliminal.”

About two years ago, the city produced a radio ad with a similar mission. From an economic development perspective, more local jobs give more people an opportunity to stay here. Doherty said an estimated 25,000 people from Federal Way commute to other cities daily.

The TV commercial is still in post-production. Details about airtime are still being worked out, but the project is expected to cost about $10,000. The commercial was filmed last week at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila where the Sounders train.

The Federal Way Economic Development Committee, comprised of citizens, the Federal Way Chamber and city leaders, began brainstorming six months ago.

“The genesis of all of this is related to bringing businesses to town,” Doherty said.

Among the commercial’s collaborators are the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce and in | house communications, a business consulting company headed by Kelly Maloney.

Maloney said the slogan (“Think smart. Move fast. Think Federal Way”) addresses a number of points, including the fast permit process and relatively low cost of doing business in the city. Another idea behind the commercial is to go beyond the business aspects to show a positive side of the community, such as the number of successful athletes who grew up in Federal Way. Sports play a big role in the lives of families, and that’s important for business owners who may want to move their families to Federal Way.

“It’s the start of a rebranding effort… A lot of cities have negative images. Federal Way to some degree suffers from that as well,” said Maloney, who is donating her services because she believes in the project’s philosophy. “We want to leave them with the message to drive them to the city.”

Teri Hickel, interim CEO of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, said the commercial marks a solid step toward rebranding the city’s image.

“What we’re showcasing is that it’s fast and friendly,” Hickel said. “My goal is that we bring people in so we can support our businesses.”

 

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