The village of Brookfield and the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce have agreed to pay the Chicago Zoological Society $3,500 for their help in advertising Brookfield Bucks, a new promotion intended to attract zoo visitors to spend cash at businesses in the village’s commercial districts.

The $3,500 amount represents the majority of $5,000 the village and Chamber of Commerce budgeted for marketing the new program, which offers visitors who spend at least $15 at Brookfield Zoo an opportunity to receive a $15 discount on any single purchase of $75 or more made at a business in the village.

To get the discount, the customer must present the business with a receipt from Brookfield Zoo showing a purchase there of at least $15 within seven days of their zoo visit.

Both the village and the Chamber of Commerce also paired up to pay $5,000 to the Chicago-based digital marketing firm A5 Inc. for coming up with the marketing campaign for the promotion, which began Aug. 22 and will run through Dec. 31. A5 is also leading the village’s outreach efforts, mainly digitally.

More than 30 businesses in Brookfield have signed up to participate in the new program. It’s up to the business to track the discounts and then submit a reimbursement form to the village of Brookfield. Businesses will be reimbursed $10 for each discount submitted on a monthly basis. The village and the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce will split the cost of each $10 refund to the business. 

While the village’s restaurants and bars appear to be naturals for this type of promotion and have signed up en masse to take part, the list of businesses participating run the gamut – from a grocery store to salons and barber shops to florists, a videogame arcade and an auto body shop.

And while it’s unclear just how much traction the program will get, business owners say they appreciate the village’s effort.

“It’s not going to create a ton of traffic for us, but any effort a community can put together to support businesses right now is meaningful,” said Abby Brennan, owner of Brennan Massage and Spa on Grand Boulevard in downtown Brookfield.

“The chamber and village supports us, so the right thing to do is support that effort,” said Dennis Tischler, owner of Tischler Finer Foods on Broadway Avenue in the Eight Corners business district, who is participating in the program.

The village and Chamber of Commerce announced in July that they were partnering to hire A5 Inc. to create the program, produce marketing materials and promote Brookfield Bucks.

Most of that promotion is being done online through social media, but the initiative is also getting a boost from Brookfield Zoo itself. Early on, officials doubted the zoo would be open to helping them market the promotion due to a non-compete clause in the zoo’s contract with its third-party food and retail services vendor.

The zoo’s help is the result of a sponsorship agreement signed by the three parties, which sets out how the Brookfield Zoo will help promote the program.

“Brookfield Zoo values the community relationships that it has built with the village of Brookfield and local businesses via the chamber,” said Jennifer Baader, senior vice president of government affairs through a zoo spokeswoman. “After additional conversations with the village and chamber on the Brookfield Bucks program, all respective parties were able to reach a collaborative agreement while respecting the existing partnerships that are in place with the zoo’s current sponsors.”

According to Assistant Village Manager George Issakoo, the zoo has agreed to display two signs, one each at the north and south guest gazebo/information boards. They also will post information about the program as a status update on the zoo’s Facebook page, which has nearly 400,000 followers.

In addition, the Brookfield Bucks logo will be included in two e-mails to members (90,000 e-mails) and in two non-member e-mails (38,000 e-mails). The zoo also may hang a vinyl Brookfield Bucks banner on their grounds.