by Rick Langenberg:
Photo by CR Chambers:
Woodland Park’s “Most Interesting Man” may finally settle down, gain a glimpse of Paradise and put a halt to his bizarre adventures—well almost.
Despite the final airing of television commercials for a series aimed at putting Woodland Park on the map as a destination area and recreational playground, the local folk hero of these spots has no intention to give up his unusual antics in promoting the town. In fact, if he had his druthers, the town’s Most Interesting Man, who has been filmed carding a hole in one at Shining Mountain golf club with a rather unusual swing, riding a bike backwards at Crystal Reservoir, attempting to snag a trophy fish, keeping up with dancing girls in Crystola, crafting and displaying wine from the town’s amazing vino tasting areas, may try to help organize an auction. Some of the prized items could include $900 street boots, a luxurious gentleman’s tuxedo, a state-of-the art ATV and cycling helmet and other prized recreational gear for this charismatic Woodland Park character.
“I would like to keep it (the commercial series) going. It’s been a lot of fun,” said Toby Wells, the star of the Most Interesting Man television commercials, aired on Fox21 for the last year. Wells, a local resident since 1946, is the co-owner of Cowbells and well known in Woodland Park and Teller County circles.
The campaign, funded by Park State Bank & Trust, is part of an overall effort to attract more visitors to the area in a fun manner. “The main goal is to get more people to come to Woodland Park,” said Wells.
Similar sentiments are echoed by Tony Perry, president of Park State Bank & Trust. He cites the campaign as a great way to promote the town and region as a whole. “We want people to know we have a sense of humor and that we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” said Perry. “We want folks to come up here to go hiking, biking and shopping, or have a glass of wine or lunch with us. There is a lot to do up here.”
The bank invested nearly $30,000 into the campaign, and the effort was orchestrated by marketing consultant Mike Perini, owner of Perini & Associates. Statistics indicate that the station reaches more than 170,000 viewers from the 25-54 range, an ideal target market for Woodland Park.
“One of our long-term goals has been to try to attract more families to this area,” stated Perry, who sees Woodland as a great spot for biking, hiking, fishing, golfing and shopping, along with a spree of other recreational and cultural amenities.
Wells, a long-time resident, was picked for the series because he epitomizes more of the flavor of the Woodland Park lifestyle.
“In reality, it’s not about Toby,” said Perry. “He was very gracious to participate. But it is more of a parody of the Dos Equis character (part of a national campaign dealing with the ‘most interesting man in the world’).
The spots mainly focus on a variety of regional activities, rather than specific businesses. “The commercials are kind of goofy, but they are designed to be fun. They have been very well received,” explained Perry.
According to the bank president, he has only received three complaints regarding the commercial spots that kicked off late last summer.
The series ends with Wells actually saying a few words himself, with the theme of settling down and mulling a new lot purchase at Paradise at Pikes Peak. But that’s after Wells displays his bicycling skills in preparation for the state’s major cycling competition, a Colorado version of the Tour de France, with a key part of the race scheduled to speed through Teller County and Woodland Park later this summer. And another focus of the Most Interesting Man final commercial deals with the town’s newest attraction: the assortment of nearly 10 retail shops that now house Colorado wine-tasting areas with many award-winning vintages.
“I did whatever they wanted me to do,” quipped Wells. “I’ll do whatever it takes to promote Woodland Park.”
As for the economic impacts of the commercials, it’s still too early to determine the tangible results. “It’s a long-term reaction,” said Wells