California Dreaming!


California has been known as the most popular and entertaining state in the country.  Thousands of people flock to the Golden State to get a taste of what California has to offer.  Various hubs have been created over the past decades, which is why so many people pick up their belongings and move out west.  Los Angeles has always been the quintessential hub for entertainment while Silicon Valley is home to many well-known technology companies.  Agriculturalists head up north to Humboldt County to make a living through their huge cannabis farms.

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We all have those stereotypical views about what people are like in California.  There’s that hot, blonde trophy wife taking her pet Chihuahua out for a stroll in Beverley Hills or that free-spirited hippy rolling another joint in the streets of San Francisco.  Travel company Visit California took those stereotypes to another level with their humorous television ads.

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Visit California is a non-profit organization that aims to develop and maintain its marketing programs to raise awareness of California as a premiere traveling destination.  Based in Sacramento, the official website provides top-notch information for people who are looking to travel to the state.  People can search for various experiences in terms of food, entertainment, luxurious events, the great outdoors, and even some ideas for planning a road trip with your friends!

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To reach out to their nationwide audience, Visit California released some ads for television.  A new ad was recently released as of this year.  The recent ad starts with famous actress January Jones (Betty Draper in Mad Men!) strolling through the pool while a butler pours a bottle of champagne.  She mentions that, “People think Californians live in their own reality”, with other actors/actresses chiming in with the other California clichés.

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We then cut to a man riding a tall bicycle near the Golden Gate Bridge before we see a young woman flying in her jet-pack around the ocean.  Another scene involves William Shatner hopping into a car within a fake movie set where he asks what his lines were. Afterward we see a couple wandering near a castle building, remarking that maybe they do live in a fantasy.  Shaun White appears to be chilling near a snowboarding mountain and then we cut to Bob Burnquist skating on a floating half-pipe out in the ocean.  The ad spot ends with Joe Montana passing a football to a little kid in San Francisco.

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With all of these California clichés in the ad, there seems to be an underlying theme within the unique selling point.  This selling point revolves around the California Dream, a famous phrase that was coined during the Gold Rush event back in 1849.  The California Dream is a psychological motivation where people move to California in search of money or fame in a new land.  California was always perceived as a place of new beginnings where their wealth would be rewarded through their hard work or good luck.  All of the clichés within the ad spot were humorous, but the main marketing secret is selling the ‘California Dream’ to the audience.

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Overall it was a great advertisement that preys on the overrated stereotypes of people residing in California.  I have traveled out to California while I was in college and I have definitely seen some of those clichés that I heard of beforehand.  Visit California did an amazing job of marketing the state, helping to keep the ‘California Dream’ alive for millions of Americans.  The California Gold Rush is still occurring in many industries such as entertainment, food, cannabis, technology, fashion, and other booming ideas.  More than a hundred years later and organizations are still working to keep the California Dream spirit alive!

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(Pictured above: Me at Pacific Palisades area, 2011)

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