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Check your mailbox. If you are part of a select group, you too may receive a letter from Beverly Hills Mayor Vicki Reynolds.

"I think one of the most distinctive aspects of Beverly Hills is its atmosphere: the welcome comfort of a small community, combined with the dynamic energy of a big city. Beverly Hills plays host to the finest shopping and dining the world has to offer-all within walking distance from your hotel. And to top it off, the city is bathed in almost year-round sunshine," Mayor Reynolds writes.

She concludes with, "I'm sure you will find that Beverly Hills is more than a city. It is a feeling."

What the city is hoping to feel is the jingle of more tourism money.

The city-funded campaign was a reaction to a hotel occupancy tax increase, which is also paying for the marketing effort. The tax was raised from 12% to 14% in February 1994.

"The tax can have a negative impact initially on city tourism," said Ali Kasikci, general manager of the Peninsula Hotel and chairman of the Beverly Hills Visitors Bureau.

"The city of Beverly Hills decided to [launch the campaign] to offset some of the negative publicity southern California has gotten recently-the natural disasters, the civil disturbances and also due to the growing competition of hotels" in nearby areas, said Janice Sunday, senior VP-account director for EvansGroup, Los Angeles, agency on the account.

An estimated 12 million people visit Beverly Hills yearly, with tourists spending $60 million at city hotels, said Dan Howard, bureau general manager.

A key component of the marketing campaign is the direct mail letter, which offers a video titled "The Review." The slow-paced video takes viewers on a tour of Beverly Hills through the eyes of a film critic and his wife. The video shows beautiful shots of Beverly Hills-gardens, homes, nightlife. The background music is soft and tranquil.

The critic comes to Beverly Hills for a movie premiere. His initial review is negative. But then he and his wife are shown in a variety of Beverly Hills venues including exclusive shops on Rodeo Drive, gourmet restaurants and elite hotel accommodations.

With each new experience, the critic rewrites the movie's review and it gets better and better. But on the airplane home, the critic returns to real life and his rewrite of the review is again negative.

"When the critic was in Beverly Hills, he had a totally different mind-set. Beverly Hills-its beauty, security and glamour-transforms you completely. It is magical," Mr. Kasikci said.

The direct mail piece is very targeted: The first mailing of 100,000 went to consumers with incomes of more than $100,000, Ms. Sunday said.

"We are trying to [capture] the market that hasn't been coming to Beverly Hills, people who travel to Los Angeles and southern California but who are not staying in Beverly Hills. We want to emphasize that Beverly Hills is located in the heart of everything and close to where you want to be," Mr. Kasikci said.

The mailing went out in mid-February and early returns are above projections, at more than 5%, Ms. Sunday said. A follow-up mailing is likely.

The marketing budget is about $1.2 million to $1.5 million for the first year, including production costs, Mr. Kasikci said.

The Beverly Hills tourism campaign also includes a series of three print ads running this year in such magazines as Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine and The New Yorker.

A brochure offering a pullout walking tour of the city is also part of the marketing effort.

Laura Loro coordinates Direct Marketing. Reach her at at 904 Champlain Dr., Voorhees, N.J. 08043 or by phone at (609) 784-9090 or by fax at (609) 784-9119.

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