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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Kerry visit brings nationwide promotion

Valley marketers revel
in surge of free press

"I think it’s great advertising for Ketchum and Sun Valley. I think we’re getting advertising we couldn’t afford to purchase."

ED SIMON, Ketchum mayor

Express Staff Writer

Presidential hopeful John Kerry’s vacation in Ketchum the last week has prompted a gleeful reaction from those most interested in promoting the Wood River Valley.

From the head of the chamber of commerce to the chief sales agent for Sun Valley Resort, local marketers are looking fondly on the Massachusetts senator’s choice of venues for taking a respite from campaigning.

"I think it’s great advertising for Ketchum and Sun Valley," said Ketchum Mayor Ed Simon. "I think we’re getting advertising we couldn’t afford to purchase."

Carol Waller, executive director of the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau, said the barrage of national press about Kerry’s vacation in Ketchum and Sun Valley is serving to solidify the resort cities’ position on the vacation-planning map.

"To have members of the national press doing stories on Kerry and Kerry being on vacation certainly raises awareness," she said. "The amount of PR is very, very positive."

With his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president today concluded a one-week vacation based from Heinz-Kerry’s home on the northern edge of Ketchum.

During the visit, throngs of reporters from the national press corps followed the senator’s every move, from snowboarding on Bald Mountain to dining in downtown Ketchum.

Lengthy stories on Kerry’s activities filled up the pages of nationally distributed newspapers, including The New York Times and USA Today. Photos in the publications depicted Kerry frolicking in the snow under sunny skies.

Reporters from The Associated Press, Reuters, ABC, CNN, Time magazine and the Los Angeles Times were joined throughout the week by Idaho journalists seeking to report the latest news from Kerry’s Ketchum camp.

"There’s already been positive results," Waller said, noting that the Boise affiliate of CBS had just announced it would cover this weekend’s SolFest ski-jumping exhibition on Bald Mountain. The decision was made, Waller said, after the television station took notice of the positive press Sun Valley had received in recent days.

"It just gives the media another angle to cover Sun Valley," she said.

Jack Sibbach, director of sales and marketing for Sun Valley Co., said he is also delighted by the senator’s visit.

"It’s been very unobtrusive for us. It’s been business as usual," Sibbach said. "We’re just happy he’s here. It’s good PR."

Sibbach noted that Sun Valley managers did not provide the senator any special treatment.

"He stood in the lift line like everybody else."

Like Sibbach, Simon said Kerry’s visit did not disrupt the normal course of events in the Ketchum area.

"I’ve seen very little disruption," Simon said. "I think part of that is we’re so used to seeing celebrities."

Waller said the press corps was genuinely impressed with Ketchum and Sun Valley. The positive impressions were likely enhanced, she said, by complimentary gift baskets from the Chamber and various other freebies from local businesses and restaurants.

"We’ve heard time and time again from them how friendly they think everybody is here," Waller said. "It all certainly put our community in a very positive light."


City of Ketchum

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High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.