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Ad recruits Antietam in battle for tourism

April 05, 2001

Ad recruits Antietam in battle for tourism



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Re-enactor commercial

Above: Re-enactors are shown in a clip from a Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development television commercial featuring Antietam National Battlefield as an enticement for tourism.

Below: Tourists ask Union soldiers to stop the action in the Battle of Antietam in a Maryland tourism commercial.

Tourist commercial



A television commercial filmed at Antietam National Battlefield in October 2000 has begun airing nationally.

continued

The battlefield is highlighted in a Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development national advertising campaign that includes a one minute television commercial and print advertisements.

The commercial is airing nationally on cable channels A&E, BET, ESPN and ESPN2, HGTV, the History Channel, The Learning Channel, The Weather Channel, CNBC, MSNBC and E!.

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While filming isn't usually permitted on the battlefield near Sharpsburg, a permit was issued in this case because the ad was for a government agency campaign.

Antietam Superintendent John Howard said he supported filming at the historic site because the commercial promotes the concept of heritage tourism.

The ad, filmed over a two-day period, was made with the help of 150 re-enactors, many of them from Maryland, and some from Texas and Michigan.

The first half of the ad recreates the Sept. 17, 1862, Battle of Antietam, the Civil War's bloodiest day.

The commercial starts with re-enactors fighting the battle.

As Union soldiers rush across Burnside Bridge, they are stopped by a tourist who asks for a pause in the action.

"Hey guys, I just ran out of film. Could you hold it a second while I reload?" she asks. "This is going to be such a great shot."

Other tourists join her in taking photographs of the soldiers.

The commercial goes on to mention other reasons people should visit Maryland.

Antietam is also mentioned in print ads that will be placed in Better Homes and Gardens, Smithsonian, Yankee, Coastal Living and other publications.

The Antietam media campaign by Trahan, Burden and Charles of Baltimore had a budget of $2 million, with some of that money to be used to run the commercials on various cable channels.

Alan Charles, the firm's president and chief creative officer, developed the concept.

"We love the state of Maryland and we are trying to promote all the different parts of Maryland. Certainly Antietam is one of the most famous parts of Maryland that is authentic," Charles said.

Tourists considering going to historic sites want to see authentic artifacts, such as Burnside Bridge, he said. The ad shows them where that can be done, he said.

The TV advertisement can be viewed on the Internet at http://www.tbcadv.com/fresh.html.

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