As the coronavirus pandemic causes anxiety and upturns the entire tourism business, the marketing agency SixtyOne Celsius of Hot Springs has released a video focused on the humanity and resilience of Arkansas’ top tourist destination, Hot Springs National Park.
The video, featuring the voice of former KARN broadcaster Neal Gladner, shows scenes of people enjoying Hot Springs’ many attractions together, with a message that they, along with the area’s noted dining and entertaining spots, will rebound when the COVID-19 crisis eases.
“Our spirit of community remains the same,” Gladner says as images of past disasters, including a 1923 downtown fire and a 1990 flash flood, give way to happier scenes. “We will celebrate again,” the voiceover says to scenes of the shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, postponed this year, and “we will race again,” to a scene of spectators at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. (Casinos have been shut down by order of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.)
Over scenes of restaurants and nightspots, barbershops and ballparks, Gladner says: “We will gather together, eat, drink and be merry. Because we are more than a place that people love to visit, we are neighbors, we are friends, we are family. We are Hot Springs.”
The firm’s president and owner, Stephanie Alderdice, told Arkansas Business “it was a fun in-house editing project,” adding that Hot Springs was built on hospitality, gatherings and welcoming visitors.
“The cancellation of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and closure of many businesses like Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort will have a profound impact on the city beyond revenue,” said Alderdice, who joined the agency in 2014 when it was Kirby & Co. and bought it in 2016 from founder Kirby Williams, who had owned it since 1988.
SixtyOne Celsius has worked with many Hot Springs fixtures, including Visit Hot Springs, the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Oaklawn Foundation and the Downtown Association. It is also the agency of record for Stone Bank of Mountain View, which also has locations in Little Rock, Harrison and White Hall.
These days, Alderdice said, “many members of the community must sacrifice doing what they love to do – but for a very important reason. As an agency, we felt it was important to celebrate the spirit of the Spa City and remind everyone of our community’s resilience.”
The agency is named for the temperature of the town’s famous thermal waters. At celsius 61, the waters are about 148 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Through our partnerships with Visit Hot Springs and the Chamber of Commerce, we’ve built a library of modern and historic footage of life in the ‘Spa City,’” Alderdice said.