A new promotion designed to lure business travelers and vacationers
to Newport Beach is based on hopes that visitors want to go to the
same places where Seth Cohen hangs out.
Cohen, for those whose television dials avoid the Fox Network, is
one of the main characters on "The OC," Fox's prime-time soap opera
set in Newport Beach. The Newport Beach Conference and Visitors
Bureau has produced a map that pinpoints local attractions seen in
The bureau's communications director, Gail Ossipoff, said she
decided to draw it up after answering phone calls from fans trying to
find directions to locations used on the show.
"They want to propose there ... they want to get they're picture
taken," Ossipoff said.
The map points out where Cohen lives, but fans of the show won't
be able to go there. "The OC's" Cohen family lives in a gated
community at Pelican Hill. Accessible locales highlighted on the map
include the Back Bay, which is called Balboa Bluffs on the program,
and Newport Harbor High School is known as Harbor High on television.
Ossipoff did not ask anyone's permission before making the map.
"If they get mad or angry that they're affiliated with 'The OC,'
they can call me," she said with a laugh.
The bureau tied the show to its marketing efforts for the city in
October, when the program's cast visited Newport to be inducted as
the inaugural members of the city's Walk of Fame. Some Newport
residents criticized the honor, because they believe the program's
plotlines, which include drug use, promiscuity and other staples of
network television, do not reflect the true character of Newport
Ossipoff believes fans don't watch the show because they think
"It's campy; it's like 'Desperate Housewives,'" Ossipoff said.
The Crab Cooker, dubbed the Seafood Shack on television, is one of
the restaurants pinpointed on the map. Owner Bob Roubian said he was
proud to be associated with "The OC" on the new map.
"I think it's fine," he said. "You got something going where
people get some information. That's what it is."
The show presents some themes that Newport Beach, as a city, would
not want to promote, Councilman Steve Rosansky said, but he has no
objection if the map encourages tourists to dine at The Arches,
another restaurant on the map.
"We shouldn't take ourselves too seriously," he said.
The conference and visitors bureau will distribute the map to
media outlets and businesses planning meetings in the area. The
bureau is also hoping teenagers will convince their parents to steer
family vacations to Newport Beach.
"They want to go to the Fun Zone, because they saw Ryan and
Marissa kiss on the Ferris wheel," bureau Executive Director Marta
* ANDREW EDWARDS covers business and the environment. He can be
reached at (714) 966-4624 or by e-mail at email@example.com.