It began as a fun marketing campaign — wrap a Concord Coach bus with photographs of cultural scenes from the city to promote the May 6 Capital Arts Festival.
“Then it became Busgate,” laughed Tim Sink, president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce.
The bus, which makes daily trips from Concord to Boston, was fitted with a wrap-around graphic showing photographs of the Merrimack River, the Main Street clock tower and two other scenes.
Then someone noticed that those other photos did not appear to be from Concord.
They weren’t; they were from cultural events thousands of miles away. One was of a painter in Venice, Italy, while the other was of young people gathered on a hill at a beer garden in Prague, Czech Republic.
Sink said the chamber contacted Concord Coach as a way to market the arts festival to people in the Boston area. They asked the company if it would offer discount tickets the day of the event. Concord Coach agreed and then offered to cover the cost to wrap the bus with advertising for the festival.
Two of the four photos on the Concord Coach bus’ wrapper show local scenes. The other two are from Europe. (COURTESY)
The chamber was asked to come up with the design within two weeks. Michael Robinson, 23, of mega.haus offered to do it, pro bono.
“I came up with the design and I selected the photos based upon the quality needed to work with a bus wrap (which was higher than most of the assets I had access to) and the message we were trying to promote and then they were approved by Jayme (Simoes, president of Louis Karno & Company Communications) and his contacts,” he said in an email.
“Since we were promoting the arts festival I added a man painting and since I also thought it needed people in my age range as well, I added the younger people chilling in the field. If I had local photography of the like at my disposal I would have used it, but we did not since we had a small time window and all the assets were donated.”
Sink said the chamber’s committee loved the design Robinson came up with, but did not know a couple of photographs had come from pexels.com, a website providing stock photographs for free commercial use. But even if they had known, Sink said, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference since the work was so well done and representative of the arts festival.
“I think it’s much ado about nothing,” said Simoes. “It is about a festival that has never happened before, so there were no photographs to use.”
Benjamin Blunt, vice president of Concord Coach, said the entire thing was an effort to promote the city and the event. He said he was pleased with the wrap because it represented what the city and the chamber hoped to achieve.
“We do think it’s a good-looking bus,” he said. “I think it delivers the message the city wanted.”
He said it’s likely the advertising will remain on the bus for a while after the festival because it is promoting the city.
The May 6 festival features 20 events, including live music, free comic book day and movies at the Red River Theatres, a petting zoo, a performance by Concord Chorale and two free performances by the Pittsburgh-based Squonk Opera.
For more information about the festival, got to capitalartsfest.com.