Although the finished production is only 30 seconds long, the new television commercial promoting the city Ottawa packs a lot of attractive visuals into its production.
The premiere of the commercial, featuring Ottawa native and soap star, Walt Willey, and local residents, was presented Tuesday morning at City Hall followed by rave reviews by participants and city officials.
"This is wonderful," said Mayor Bob Eschbach. "It was a great experience for us (who participated in the production) and a big step forward for promoting our city."
Julie Johnson, Ottawa Visitors Center executive director, said the promotional piece has been in the works for more than a year through a partnership with the Heritage Corridor and the city's tourism office.
"This is such an exciting day (to see the finished product)," said Johnson. "I think it came out really well."
Commenting on the commercial, Willey said, "We were blessed by the weather on the day of filming last year and it was very exciting to be asked to participate. I love this city. I always say what I am today is because of my years growing up in Ottawa. I hope it brings new visitors to town."
Michael Malone, WGN Channel 9 account executive and director of the advertisement, praised the city's cooperation in the production.
"I was thrilled and honored to be part of this production," he said. "Ottawa is charming beyond belief. It is just gorgeous. I had a great time choosing locations with Julie and working on the script. We had good luck in shooting and I think it shows in the final production values of the piece."
Malone said the commercial will begin to air on WGN in the next few weeks into June to promote the Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine, Jazz and Lobster Fest and again in July to advertise the city's annual Riverfest.
Prominently featured in the production is Ottawa Washington Park, the downtown area, the Illinois and Michigan Canal, Heritage Harbor and Monte's Riverside Inn.
Among the many locals featured in the commercial is The Times' Multi-Media Editor Stephanie Szuda; and Kim "Howard" Johnson, Willey's close friend since childhood.