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Push for wholesome ads on Reno cabs

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POSTED August 27, 2013 10:32 p.m.

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The Reno-area economic development agency wants the world to know the Biggest Little City has more to offer than strip joints and nearby brothels.

A new marketing campaign seeks to replace racy ads on taxicabs and billboards with a more wholesome message.

The goal of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada is to promote the region as a great place to live and do business, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported Monday.

Part of the "expand your business and enjoy your life" campaign includes diversifying the ads on many of the cabs that carry visitors, including business decision-makers, around the area.

"We were hearing from our prospects that certain marketing, not only on taxi tops, but in other places, was offensive to them, and that once they got to know our community, they were pleased to find that our community was much different than this initial impression," Mike Kazmierski, CEO of the development authority told the newspaper.

Signs advertising men's clubs in downtown Reno or the Mustang Ranch brothel just east of the Washoe County line have been familiar sights on area cabs for years.

Sixty-six Whittlesea Checker taxis will carry the new signs for one year. In addition, Reno-based candy manufacturer Kimmie Candy Co. will be sponsoring a cab.

"We are trying to be a pro-business environment," said Joe Dutra, president and CEO of Kimmie Candy. "We are trying to attract companies from all over the United States to make Reno their home."

Other sponsors include Understand.com and Q&D Construction Inc.

Businesses can participated by donating to the EDAWN Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and choosing from about a dozen ad options. They also can use their own marketing material on the taxi tops and directly pay Whittlesea.

Marketing pieces of the campaign also include billboards, truck wraps and LED-lighted displays around prominent tourist venues, such as the Reno-Sparks Convention Center or the National Bowling Stadium, The LED displays require a $5,000 donation for a two-year commitment, while the yearlong taxi-top option is $1,000.

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