LEWISTON — Video advertisements produced by the same company are continuing to roll out during separate campaigns in Lewiston and Auburn, and representatives from both sides of the river say it’s good for everyone.

On Wednesday, the Downtown Lewiston Association posted its second video ad produced by Praxis Motion Pictures, highlighting downtown businesses and the city’s expanding food and beer scene.

The 30-second ad shows The Public Theatre, Baxter Brewing Co. and relatively new businesses like Heirloom Arrangements and Sonder & Dram.

The campaign follows a busy few months for the growing downtown organization as it continues its goal of boosting economic development along with the city’s image.

Michael Dostie, the downtown organization’s chairman, said Thursday that he’s not concerned about competition between the two cities. However, he admitted, he was initially “crushed” when he saw Auburn’s first advertisement in November, on the same day he was to review a final draft of Lewiston’s first ad.

“I think it shows that there’s a lot of activity in this area,” he said of the two campaigns. “There’s a lot of excitement and it’s really just gone under the radar for much too long.”

The Lewiston group is relying on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to get the word out, but Dostie said it’s working. The first ad has some 21,000 views, and the second has 3,500 in just one day.

In Lewiston, the ad campaign stems from the nonprofit downtown business association, without a direct tie to City Hall. In Auburn, however, Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque is front and center.

In November, Auburn unveiled the first of its ads planned for 2019, which are designed to promote both the city and its yearlong 150th anniversary celebration. The ads are running on local television on WGME, as well as promoted on social media.

Dostie said having that type of economic development tool coming from a municipality rather than a separate organization is difficult to do given the finances, but added, “Hats off to Jason though, because he recognizes it.”

In Auburn, however, the city’s name is on the ads, but corporate sponsorships have paid for them. Those businesses include Maple Way Dental Care, Great Falls Marketing and Emerson Toyota.

In November, when announcing the ad campaign, Levesque said that historically, Auburn advertising has been lumped into regional efforts. He said he appreciates the campaigns from the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, including the current “Make It Here” campaign, but he said Auburn needs to promote its own “unique city with a unique set of assets.”

On Thursday he said he sees both cities’ campaigns as a good thing.

“I think it’s important that Auburn and Lewiston are focused on their own unique assets,” he said. “A 30-second TV spot isn’t long enough to cover what everybody has, which is a lot. What’s good for Auburn is good for Lewiston, and vice versa.”

Levesque said the recent marketing push, paired with Auburn’s New Year’s Eve event, has been successful enough to get him thinking about a permanent marketing program in the city. He said during the upcoming budget talks he plans to push for a more robust marketing budget.

In Lewiston, Dostie said the downtown association plans to continue, possibly with a third video ad. But, he said, the nonprofit has limited resources, especially for how new it still is.

In roughly a year, the group has installed a welcome sign downtown, designed holiday banners and rolled out the video campaign.

“The limited resources we have are time and money,” he said about the group.

However, he said, “we believe it’s resonating with people.”

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Tom Ardia of Sonder & Dram in downtown Lewiston is one of several people and businesses highlighted in the latest commercial from the Downtown Lewiston Association. (Facebook screen grab)

The Downtown Lewiston ad can be found here.

The city of Auburn released the first in a series of video advertisements leading up to its 150th anniversary celebration in November. 


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