Advertisements to “rebrand” Isla Vista will hit the streets in coming weeks after half a dozen public entities chipped in a total of $60,000 for the new media campaign. Designed by Ken Berris, who worked pro bono on both District Attorney Joyce Dudley and Sheriff Bill Brown’s campaigns, the ads came out of a committee called I.V. Safe. The group, which is chaired by Dudley and made up of many authority figures in I.V., pools resources to tackle problems associated with the college town. UCSB, SBCC, and the City of Goleta each contributed $15,000; the DA’s office and Sheriff’s Office chipped in $5,000; the county forked over $10,000.
Berris, who has a background in film and marketing, has worked on a number of national political campaigns as well, including Al Gore’s and Barack Obama’s. Berris first met Dudley because their kids went to school together, and he agreed to do the I.V. work at a reduced rate, Dudley said. “It’s not a money-maker,” she said. The ads are running in various media outlets — including The Santa Barbara Independent — some of which are donating space.
The 30-second commercial features a number of people who say is Isla Vista a beautiful place to learn and live; the backdrop is a painting by local artist Chris Potter. The scene, Berris said, depicts an idealized version of a beach town, or “what Isla Vista was and can become again.” The campaign will continue for five to seven years, Berris said, as a transformation does not happen overnight.
When asked exactly how “rebranding” will change Isla Vista, Dudley said she prefers to describe the effort as “shining a light on what [Isla Vista] is today.” The ads, she said, are targeting people who come to I.V. to live and work, as well as teenagers who come to consume drugs and alcohol. On the Internet, Dudley went on, Isla Vista is portrayed as just a party culture; this effort seeks to change that image. Success will be measured by fewer crimes, arrests, and parties, she said.