AUBURN — In a video commercial released Monday, Mayor Jason Levesque pitches Auburn as a destination and a place to raise a family.

The mayor walks the downtown streets and narrates over images of kayakers, a skier at Lost Valley and an Auburn classroom.

At the conclusion, he throws in a tagline that he said was created by city staff before his term: “Welcome to Auburn, make yourself at home.”

The 30-second commercial is part of a larger multimedia advertising campaign being rolled out by the city ahead of its 150th anniversary celebration, which kicks off New Year’s Eve downtown.

Levesque said the ad campaign, paid for by the 150th anniversary sponsors, will advertise both the anniversary events and the city itself, which he said in the past has not been promoted effectively.

“We need it. It’s been talked about for quite some time,” he said Tuesday. “We want people in New England to know why we’re so proud of Auburn. We have not historically promoted our assets like we should’ve.”

In the first ad, which he said will be one of a handful broadcast through a partnership with WGME, he calls Auburn “a destination for many, and a home for anyone.”

He said the TV spots will begin running soon, with another five-second ad running during the same set of airtime specifically for the upcoming New Year’s Eve event.

New Year’s Auburn, on Dec. 31, will take place outdoors on a section of Main Street between Court Street and Festival Plaza, and will feature local breweries, food trucks, live music and fireworks. The city is catering the event to adults: Those 21 and older will be allowed to drink alcohol on the street. The ’90s cover band Hello Newman of Portland will be the headliner.

Levesque said Tuesday that the city is expecting between 2,000 and 3,000 people, and is hoping to attract people from outside Auburn.

He’s also hoping events like New Year’s will persuade some — especially younger professionals — to move to Auburn.

He said as more municipalities are focusing on promoting quality of life, with nightlife, dining and recreational opportunities, the city needs to let people know that “those types of opportunities are here.”

“We want to see young couples moving here,” he said, especially as the cost of living in Greater Portland increases.

At a recent City Council workshop, Maine state economist Amanda Rector presented demographic trends to elected officials, which Levesque said highlights some of the challenges municipalities face statewide.

The median age in Maine, at 44.7 years, makes Maine the oldest state in the U.S. But a bright spot in the numbers showed Androscoggin County is the youngest in Maine, a trend that Levesque said he hopes will continue.

Levesque said Tuesday that historically, Auburn advertising has been lumped into regional efforts. He said he appreciates the campaigns from the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, including the current “Make It Here” campaign, but he said Auburn needs to promote its own “unique city with a unique set of assets.”

“This is Auburn. I was elected mayor of Auburn, and I want to make sure Auburn is in the forefront of everyone’s mind,” he said.

The city first posted the new ad to its social media accounts Monday, and it was widely shared. As of Tuesday, it has roughly 2,100 views on the city’s Facebook account. Levesque said in just two days that makes it one of the city’s top performing posts in the past few years.

The City Council approved $25,000 in “seed money” toward the anniversary celebration in this year’s budget, which Levesque said went toward the 150th anniversary gear, including T-shirts, hats, downtown banners and other merchandise. But he said the anniversary committee, through knocking on doors and getting the word out, has paid for the rest through private sponsorships.

Those include Maple Way Dental Care, Great Falls Marketing and Emerson Toyota.

Dr. Rose Sheline, co-owner of Maple Way Dental Care in Lewiston, said Tuesday that the business — formerly Center Street Dental — established its roots and operated for 30 years in Auburn.

“This occasion marks a special milestone in Auburn’s history, and we are thrilled to show our support,” she said. “We’re also hopeful that Auburn’s 150th anniversary events happening over the course of the next year will create a compelling case for people to come and visit our Twin Cities and maybe even choose to live here.”

Maple Way also recently sponsored new holiday banners in downtown Lewiston, spearheaded by the Downtown Lewiston Association.

The city contracted with Praxis Production Studios of Portland for the campaign, and subsequent ads will be released throughout the year. Some won’t be directly tied to the anniversary celebration, including one celebrating the “culture of sport” in Auburn.

Levesque said the theme of the series is to highlight “what has made us great over the last 150 years,” and to encourage people to “come be a part of the next 150.”

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: