It has been some while since Forest Park last marketed itself to the wider Chicago community, bringing energy, confidence and fun to a message that this ideally placed small burg was an undiscovered urban/suburban gem.
Now that marketing effort is back, updated for this moment and supported financially, as it should be, by the village government while being driven by talent within the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce.
The See Forest Park campaign — in print and outdoor advertising, on street banners and online and in social media — was crafted with strong listening, keen observation and an intuitive sense of Forest Park’s place in history and its place in this modern moment. The vision behind the effort comes from Jef Anderson and Noel Eberline, co-owners of Yearbook on Madison, a business that combines both a great retail sensibility and a design and marketing aspect.
What resonates in the consistent messaging is its simplicity but also its efforts to describe and promote Forest Park not just as a retail and restaurant destination but as a place to consider planting your family, as a strong community, as a place with genuine history and a hard-working ethic.
This is not Forest Park vamped up as trendy and chic. It is a more organic, cool expression of our town in its many dimensions.
Good work by the chamber and good work by the village council in recognizing that the central tenet of marketing is to put out a consistent message over time.
We see Forest Park and there is a lot to value and appreciate and improve.
There’s such a thing as catching a moment when the movement comes calling at your door. The movement now is toward clear statements and supportive policies which make plain that Forest Park welcomes immigrants as neighbors. At a time when our national politics is actively hostile to immigrants and seeks to dehumanize and deport people, diverse towns such as Forest Park have the obligation and the opportunity to stand up for all people.
Forest Park’s village government leadership has tilted in the right direction, been cajoled in that direction and has given indications it would move on a Welcoming Village ordinance. And yet it hasn’t. The rewrite is stalled somewhere in the small bureaucracy of village hall. There’s the mayor, Anthony Calderone, there is the village attorney seemingly charged to do a rewrite, there are village commissioners who make supportive sounds but aren’t driving the car, there’s the village’s Diversity Commission which is, so far, the most direct in looking to forward a substantive effort on this issue.
It is too late to be first, or even early, on this issue. The goal now is not to be last and not to settle for a bland version of what needs to be a bold statement.