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Satiric Spotlight on Hartford In New Convention Center Promo Video

A new promotional video featuring some of Hartford’s most familiar haunts — and some well-played satire — is racking up the views on social media.

Posted to Facebook on Tuesday, the Connecticut Convention Center’s witty “More Than Meetings” video aims to highlight what Hartford has to offer beyond the 540,000 square feet of space at 100 Columbus Blvd. The campaign, the convention center’s second foray into professionally-produced video, was shared nearly 50 times in 24 hours.

In it, local actor Jeremy White plays a marketing professional jumping into the roles of bell boy, bus driver, waiter, bartender and hot dog hawker to showcase the city.

Scenes cut from the Hartford dash Shuttle, the city’s free circulator bus, to the Wadsworth Atheneum and Connecticut Science Center.

White pauses in each role just long enough to boast about whichever Hartford amenity but never long enough to do his “job.” He sends a luggage cart spinning through the Hartford Marriott Downtown lobby, tosses a rogue hot dog into the stands of Dunkin’ Donuts Park and snubs a diner at City Steam Brewery Cafe.

“Now I’m not saying the National Association of Underwater Horticulture is a boring event,” he says in one scene, wiping a glass behind City Steam’s bar. “Just that we’ve got a lot of really great bars for after the conference.”

Full disclosure: This is not a true dig. There is no National Association of Underwater Horticulture.

Communications manager Annika Deming said the convention center hopes the video encourages people to experience the whole city.

“A lot of people wouldn’t necessarily think of Hartford or Connecticut as a tourist destination, but there’s all these other things around,” Deming said.

The new video, shot by Stonington production company Colony, appears to be far more successful than the convention center’s first attempt at professional video.

The first, posted to Facebook in March, follows a young woman as she clicks off the TV in her Marriott room, heads to a conference and then strolls the apparently lively streets of downtown Hartford.

There are high-resolution shots of wine hitting a flaming pan in an industrial kitchen and a street musician drumming at dusk, all set to electro-pop music.

And there’s no hint of satire as the woman asks her girlfriend, “There are a million options, where do you want to eat?”

“What’s close?” the friend responds.

Cut to a long shot of the city. The red beacon flashes from Travelers Tower. The beat drops.

That video got only about 300 views. The new video, however, has been watched more than 5,000 times in one day.

It’s like White says, or screams, in the video as he stands in the science center’s gale-force hurricane simulator: “We don’t take ourselves too seriously!”

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