LEAVENWORTH — Nutcracker Woody Goomsba is revealing his sexy side in Leavenworth’s latest ad campaign, but not everyone likes what they see.
The “Gitcha Goomsba Up” music video launched by Howell at the Moon Productions has become an internet sensation.
Hip-thrusting Bavarian babes, in St. Pauli girl tops and extra-short dirndls, dance around a man-sized Woody Goomsba. Their bare midriffs undulate to a hip-hop beat: “He’s a nutcracker, so bring on the nuts.”
Between dance sequences, the video cuts to scenes of river rafting, road cycling, fishing and family putt-putt.
In two weeks, the three-minute music video has picked up nearly 80,000 hits on YouTube. Howell at the Moon producer Jeff Ostenson called the video a wildly successful experiment in social marketing.
“We’ve been absolutely amazed and excited about the response,” he said. Ostenson said online bloggers have compared the $11,000 video to multi-million dollar tourism campaigns, such as “Pure Michigan.”
“Gitcha Goomsba Up” was one of five Woody-themed videos commissioned by the Leavenworth Area Promotions board, made up of city councilmen, hotel leaders and chamber of commerce members. The campaign was funded with lodging tax dollars.
“We talked a lot about doing something for younger generation, and that’s when viral marketing started to really take off,” Ostenson said.
The campaign strategy was based loosely on the Old Spice campaign, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” which spread like wildfire in the online world, Ostenson said.
“It really changed the way a lot of people were marketing,” he said. “It was a method of reaching millions of people really cheaply.”
The video has some conservative residents grumbling about their town being portrayed as a spring break-type destination.
“We have received some comments via e-mail asking why are we advertising to a hip-hop crowd,” Leavenworth Mayor Rob Eaton said. “But we’re not advertising to a hip hop crowd, it was a spoof video to have some fun and play with it.”
The Accidental Bavarian, a blog dedicated to tourism in Leavenworth, has ignored the buzz.
“It’s cute and clever advertising, we liked it,” said Scotte Meredith, a Spokane man who writes the blog with his wife, Renae. “It’s not the direction we want to see Leavenworth going in.”
Several business owners say they appreciate the attention, even if it’s controversial.
Sandy Hendrickson, owner of Sandy’s Waffle & Dinner Haus, said she’s not crazy about the music, but if it gets people talking, it’s worth it.
“I have a lot of friends who really hate it, but if it’s going to get that many hits, I’m all for it,” she said.
Pat Rutledge, owner of A Book for All Seasons, said the video made her smile.
“I understand it doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I don’t think it’s going to have a negative effect on Leavenworth,” she said.
Woody’s frat boy fantasy was a one-time venture, not a lasting theme for the town, Ostenson said.
“There won’t be another hip-hop video because we’ve done that,” Ostenson said. Other plans are in the works for Woody Goomsba.
“He’s going to be helping people have the right kind of experience in Leavenworth,” Ostenson said. “As a rule, that’s what we try to focus on: Visitors having a good time.”
Rachel Schleif: 664-7139