PORT ANGELES — It’s hard to argue with a marmot.
The Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission has launched a “Share” campaign to welcome visitors to the Olympic Peninsula and as a gesture of kindness to frontline tourism workers, acknowledging their hard work during the COVID crisis.
That campaign comes in the form of indigenous animals along with a positive phrase, including “Share Respect” (Elk), “Share Patience” (Blue Heron), “Share Joy” (Orca) and “Share Kindness” (Olympic Marmot).
Marsha Massey, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau and Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission, said the idea arose out of the attempt to stay positive in some stressful days.
“We’d been hearing a lot from frontline (staff) at restaurants and various businesses that it’s been a tough summer — everyone trying to get up to speed. With all the positivity of businesses returning, we were also hearing from some of the business that some of the interactions got somewhat stressful.
“We can’t fix the problem but can help the dialogue.”
Massey said the campaign’s message wasn’t directly tied to, but was somewhat inspired by, the City of Sequim’s “Be Kind” campaign.
“We weren’t trying to copy it but thought, ‘How can we magnify that message?’ We got lots of inspiration from a lot of people,” Massey said.
When it came down to design, the commission looked at a variety but settled on animals as “wildlife ambassadors, matched with certain phrases.
“We are very partial to our marmots; they kind of inspired us,” Massey said.
“You’re always happy when you see pictures of marmots. They always make you smile.
“We wanted to de-escalate things, trying to find some common ground. We let our animals speak for themselves.”
That led to buttons … a lot of buttons. Like, 10,000 buttons and 250 pounds worth, distributed to chambers of commerce as well as key businesses in Sequim, Port Angeles, Forks and Port Townsend.
The hope is that positivity is played out on “both sides of the counter,” from businessperson to customer and vice versa, Massey said.
“Visitors are kind of liking them too … and some employees are wearing them,” Massey said. “It’s however they want to share that idea.”
For more about the “wildlife ambassadors” and buttons, visit olympicpeninsula.org/our-wildlife-ambassadors-share-positive-messages-with-buttons.
The Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission is a cooperative marketing partnership among area cities, counties and marketing entities that collaborate to market the broader destination of the Olympic Peninsula to out-of-state visitors. For more information, see OlympicPeninsula.org.