There are lots of people in Bowling Green, Kentucky who love this town. In fact, they are so nuts over where they live, they will stand in front of a room of people and tell the reasons why. Not just your usual suspects like the mayor and the judge executive, either. These are business owners and professionals who love Bowling Green so much they will wear a button or a t-shirt all day declaring their love. You might have seen the ‘i love bg’ image around… at your bank, your favorite donut shop, or on the bumpers of fire trucks. It’s popped up on marquees, in merchandise store windows and even on the local news station. So what’s the story behind all this ‘i love bg’ stuff?
It started as a rough sketch by one of our Board of Directors here in the Convention & Visitors Bureau office. Leon Volkert served on the All-America Cities committee in 2010 when Bowling Green was a finalist as selected by the National Civic League. He exudes passion for BG and could live anywhere in the world as a successful hotelier, but chooses to stay in southern Kentucky. Volkert felt we needed to remind folks living here how unbelievably fortunate we are, so the sketch went to the hands of our marketing director. A few tweaks later, the i ‘heart’ bg graphic was born.
Then the big question was, “How do we get this to spread?” We knew the first step we wanted to take was to distribute buttons. An opportunity came in September to introduce the campaign at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast. We passed out close to 2,000 ‘i love bg’ buttons that first week to businesses and organizations all across the city. After the next six months, we are nearly out of the 5,000 buttons we originally ordered as more and more folks see them and inquire. Many of us involved with the grassroots campaign can be seen taking off our buttons to give to an employee at a restaurant, shop, gas station, public event, or other establishments. Our motto is, “If you’ll wear it proudly, then here you go!”
The next step was to get the business community actively involved. BlueCotton stepped up quickly to begin branding the image through t-shirts, hats, stickers and other items, several of which are available here in the Visitors Bureau Gift Shop now as well. Then the decals began spreading. Now, Werkshop Marketing has made a mini-button to distribute and sell. The Chamber of Commerce stepped in to organize a press conference last week announcing future plans. We could have this positive message everywhere we turn. The green heart could become the symbol of sustainable efforts across the city. The options are endless. However, the budgets of the organizations and businesses involved are not.
Enter the Bowling Green Hot Rods. On the night of June 4, a special ‘i love bg’ night will take place at the BG Ballpark. Every ticket sold under the ‘i love bg’ promo code will have some of its proceeds given to the community committee to further this campaign. The team will be wearing special green jerseys with the logo that will be auctioned after the game. Over two dozen area businesses and organizations will be offering discounts and specials on this day, the first official ‘i love bg’ Day in Bowling Green! Visit http://www.GoodThingsHappenHere.com or the i love bg community page on Facebook for more information and details!
Our grassroots efforts are working. I had three people mention to me the ‘i love bg’ stickers or campaign over the weekend and they did not know I was involved. If you are still not convinced that Bowling Green is a wonderful place to live and play, read what some of the speakers at last week’s press conference had to say.
“Bowling Green truly is a great place to live with good real estate, low insurance rates, and reasonable utilities. We have low crime, good roads in and out of town with a river of gold (I65) supporting our large middle class. There are pro sports, terrific schools, and quality healthcare. It’s a very accepting city. You don’t have to live here long before you feel like a part of the city.”—Leon Volkert
“Walking through the streets of any city makes you really appreciate Bowling Green. You can leave your lights off or on, your doors locked or not… but the most unique thing about Bowling Green is the people.”—Mike Buchanon, Warren County Judge Executive
“Bowling Green is such a welcoming and accepting city featuring high quality family activities. There is a mix of old and new with an emphasis on southern comforts.”—Amy Richey, owner of Playful Picasso
“I am privileged to live here among such great people. This community has something different that I’ve not felt anywhere else. The large Bosnian population now living in Bowling Green has always felt welcome.”—Mirza Osmanovic, owner of Verdi Restaurant
“After my first week in town, the team owner called and asked how it was going. I said, ‘These people are unbelievable!’ I knew it was a great place when we were thanked and told to have a nice day in the drive-thru.”—Brad Taylor, Team President of Bowling Green Hot Rods