Monday June 4, 2007
You know what you think about Canada. Ever wonder how others see it? The sad truth is that this country may be best known for its strong beer, its innate politeness and Bob and Doug McKenzie. Tourism officials around the country are trying to change Canada's image with a massive advertising campaign that you'll never see. They've launched a huge ad blitz across the border downplaying the Great White North as a place of Mounties, moose and maple syrup.
The pitch, which is being sold under the title "Keep Exploring", doesn't trot out the old classics like the Calgary Stampede, the Parliament Buildings and the CN Tower. Instead, it tries to make Canada seem like a place filled with adventure, touting the opportunity to swim with the whales in Manitoba, (but hopefully not in the winter), go 'nose to nose' with a polar bear up north, mine for diamonds, dig for dinosaur bones or heli-ski on spectacular mountain slopes where lift lines fear to tread.
Lines like, "So what time is the helicopter picking you up at the spa?" and "Does polar bear breath really smell like fish?" (although we're not sure that's one you really want an answer to) are being used to paint a different picture of what's sometimes unfairly seen as a bland country.
Although we don't have any real wilderness, Toronto is spotlighted in the campaign, highlighting all the usual suspects - the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Blue Jays, the ROM, The Art Gallery, Casa Loma and Downtown Yonge St. The advertisement creators also address Canadian etiquette by focusing on traffic in the GTA. "The light turns red," its copy begins. "You wait."
Folks in Boston, Los Angeles and New York are all seeing the new campaign in an effort to lure more Yankee dollars this way. The problem: it comes at a time when the Canadian loonie continues to soar, with some analysts predicting we could be on par with our U.S. counterpart by the end of the year.
View the special website being used to change our image down south.