Feel-good ads to restore Toronto’s image not good enough

A television ad campaign featuring comedians Leslie Nielsen and Colin Mochrie, as well as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, takes a lighthearted approach to promoting Toronto culture, but the feel-good message isn’t good enough, said Alan Middleton, a professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business. He told the Toronto Star Aug. 12 that the ads can be described as an exercise in brand building, meaning the spots establish a connection in consumers’ minds between the words “Toronto” and “fun.” That’s a great way to market Toronto to potential visitors under normal circumstances, Middleton said. But these aren’t normal circumstances. With the tourism industry crippled and the summer tourist season drawing to a close, he said, a better approach would have been to go hard on package deals. What Toronto needs, he said, is for people to take next week off work because they don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity.

Alumna honoured for work in Bosnia
A York University alumna, who helped thousands of displaced victims of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina repossess their homes and recover their stolen land after the 1992-1995 regional war, has won a prestigious human rights award for her work, reported the Toronto Star Aug. 12 from a Canadian Press wire story. Lawyer Georgette Gagnon, 44, is not only the first woman to receive the Walter Tarnopolsky Human Rights Award, but she is also the youngest recipient. Gagnon graduated with an LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1984.

Women players grab tennis tournament headlines
Toronto broadcast and print media served a volley of stories Aug. 11 as the women’s competition proceeded despite rain at the Rogers AT&T Cup tennis tournament at York. With some of the game’s most decorated and visible personalities absent, reporters turned the spotlight on Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne, interviewed Justine Arden, bemoaned  Canadian Maureen Drake’s defeat to American qualifier Jill Krebas, noted Centre Court winners Katarina Srebotnik and Vera Zvonareva, and discussed the withdrawal of top-seeded players due to injuries and the hardships of a competitive life.

In addition, the Toronto-based e-newsletter Marketing Daily reported details Aug. 8 of York’s campaign to highlight its association with the tournament. The campaign, by doug agency in Toronto, plays on York’s new logo and features a pair of eyes moving back and forth, as if watching a tennis match, embedded in the double “n” in “tennis.”