Will the Gnome turn up trick-or-treating in Canada?

Mary O'Hara's top story is the disappearance of Travelocity's Roaming Gnome mascot. Her online home, GnomeWatch.com, aims to make consumers care.

The Roaming Gnome has disappeared from Travelocity’s latest ad campaign and been replaced with a stand-in, a chubby gentleman in a very unconvincing gnome costume, complete with pointy red hat. This guy’s appearing in all the latest Travelocity print and TV ads, while the company aims to get consumers engaged in the search for the real star. Texas-based Travelocity has launched a site, GnomeWatch.com, in an effort to draw in submissions of consumer generated media, from photos of gnome sightings to participation in online polls. The site’s host is the fictitious roving WTRS reporter Mary O’Hara, who jumps into garbage dumpsters and crawls through bushes in search of the spokesgnome.

GnomeWatch.com invites users to join a Yahoo group to become gnome watchers, allowing them to submit sightings, talk with other roaming gnome fans, and follow updates on the search for the mascot. By yesterday, the group had collected 93 members and 25 photos within seven days, 43 friends in the social space, and about 200 votes on where he might be (with the ‘I don’t know, but I sure do miss him’ earning top ranking). Travelocity first took on the Roaming Gnome mascot with an ad campaign about two and a half years ago, and PR for the most recent disappearance is being handled by Texas HQ’d Vollmer. The gnome-nabbing phenomenon was first recorded in the 1980s.