Salisbury featured in national Citgo commercial
By Mark Wineka
Small-town Salisbury ó a place where kids joyfully run toward the bus in the morning or where homemade pies just pulled from the oven are given time to cool ó is receiving national television exposure thanks to Citgo.
“They’re basically portraying all the things we market anyway,” says James Meacham, executive director of the Rowan County Tourism Authority. “… Very impressive. The free exposure for Salisbury is unbelievable ó the type of exposure we can’t buy.”
If you haven’t seen it in recent weeks, where have you been?
Citgo features Salisbury ó and all kinds of images from Salisbury ó in a 30-second, nationally broadcast advertisement that is part of the company’s “Fueling Good” campaign.
The marketing effort introduces Citgo owners, portrays their businesses as locally operated and conveys a message about how they’re trying to help the communities in which they do business.
At the center of the Salisbury advertisement is Nelson Perez, owner of Mid State Petroleum in High Point and a longtime Citgo marketer in the Carolinas and Virginia.
Perez owns the two Pop Shoppe convenience stores in Salisbury that sell Citgo gas. The Jake Alexander Boulevard Citgo next to Interstate 85 is the one shown in the commercial.
Perez, who lives in High Point, makes himself sound like an entrenched Salisburian as he narrates through the spot.
“I’m Nelson, and this is my Citgo,” he says after Salisbury is introduced.
Here’s the rest of the message:
Perez: “Salisbury is a wonderful little town. It’s the kind of place where folks ask how you’re doing and are really interested in the answer.
“As a local business, we’re proud of the jobs we provide in this community.
“And we’re especially proud of the ways that we give back.”Voiceover: “Every Citgo is locally owned. And they’re at every turn.”Perez: “We treat our customers like friends.
“And who doesn’t want more friends.”Some of the other images, all shot in Salisbury earlier this year, include police officers being served in a restaurant; a kid shooting hoops in his driveway; a little girl on the mechanical horse in front of Critters; a friendly dog at the Hot Junk store on South Main Street; a line of cyclists traveling down a wet, but sun-drenched street; swimmers diving into the YMCA pool; newspapers coming off the Salisbury Post press; an old car rolling by the big chicken outside of Hendrix Barbecue; a farm scene; a Marine in full-dress uniform; two women sitting under the dryers in a hair salon; U.S. 601 highway signs; and the Salisbury Mural.
The Citgo in Salisbury also displays shamrocks on the windows that are connected to Mid State Petroleum’s fundraising efforts for Muscular Dystrophy, which the company has supported for 11 years.
Contributions by employees, customers and vendors at Mid State have added up to more than $580,000. When Citgo’s contribution is added in, the shamrock program has meant more than $810,000 toward fighting the disease.
When he was asked to recommend a location, Perez urged the production crew shooting the Citgo advertisements to check out Salisbury.
“They honestly fell in love with the town, and I can understand why,” Perez said. “… I think it fits what they were trying to accomplish.”
Similar commercials have been made using Key West, Fla., and Corpus Christi, Texas. The Citgo Web site also has an advertisement featuring Charlotte.
Perez said his company was pleased that Salisbury was one of the three cities chosen for national exposure. He has been getting calls from friends in places such as Illinois, Ohio and Florida jokingly complaining that they are tired of seeing his face in the ad.
Perez thinks the advertisement is being seen in up to 28 states across the country where Citgo does business. He has been told the advertisements will last until late August or early September and started showing in some locations at the end of April.
The film crew was in Salisbury for almost two weeks and included 13 people, Perez said. He spent three half-days as part of the filming here. He also was in a Charlotte studio for two hours to record his words.
“I thought it turned out well,” he said.
Meacham, the county tourism director, said he thinks the commercial is cut and edited nicely, and he likes the way it portrays things such as Salisbury’s small-town character and the friendships and relationships that spring from that.
“Citgo obviously saw that in Salisbury,” he said.
Salisbury and Perez also are featured in full-page print ads in various markets.
Perez has only seen the commercial once on television. It also can be viewed online at www.fuelinggood.com/media-room.
The Salisbury images fly by, so pay attention.
“That’s the only thing wrong with it,” Perez says, “it goes by so fast.”