Peculiar Trends in Advertising

Posted: July 27, 2009 in Braak
Tags: ,

I’m writing about this thing, because I’m having a hard time thinking of what to write about.  Threat Quality Press is gearing up, over the next month, to unveil FOUR exciting, new, SECRET PROJECTS, and those things are kind of distracting me.

But, I want to talk about this.  The other day, when I was going into Philadelphia for rehearsal, I saw billboards everywhere for something called “”  Or maybe just “GoPhila.”  This is a city organization that’s trying to increase tourism.  They post billboards like this:

xoxo_BigWorldNow, in the first place, a lot of these messages strike me as being really needy.  This one in particular is exactly like the way I might casually suggest to an ex-girlfriend that we should get together for a night of liquor and bad decisions, and it’s phrased in exactly the way that never worked.

But the thing that drives me nuts about this is that I saw all of these billboards in Suburban Station.  Suburban Station, for those of you who don’t know, is in Philadelphia. It is actually UNDER CITY HALL.

I am no brilliant marketing scientist or anything, but I think I’ve detected a glaring design flaw here.

Are there marketers out there who can shed light on this for me?  Because it seems to me to be a completely crazy idea to try and advertise Philadelphia’s tourist attractions to the people who are already there.

  1. Jeff Holland says:

    I came across this ad campaign while heading out of Philly, into New Jersey, on our way to New York.

    Which set my girlfriend and I on a train-ride-long debate over why people should go to Philadelphia, when clearly NYC is the place to be if you want to do a “weekend in the city” vacation.

    I did not win this one, since “We made cheesesteaks!” and “There’s this vintage shop on South Street I like!” are, no matter how stridently I might push, not game-ending arguments.

    However, I think we were both on the same page that heading in either direction was a good plan, if the alternative is staying in Trenton, NJ one moment longer than necessary.

  2. V.I.P. Referee says:

    It could be an attempt at something similar to the “I (heart/love) NY” campaign that promoted a kind of kinship-signed-with-cheesiness between New Yorkers and NYC lovers, alike. The GoPhila campain, as you’ve already mentioned Braak, does read as desperate, it’s just too much—the “With Love” and “XOXO”—it’s almost obsessive and unhinged, like Philly’s calling out to anyone who’s ever ignored it:

    “PLEASE love me! Why NY?! What does NY have that I don’t have!? You’ll regret ever leaving me!!!”

    …you know, that sort of vibe. Plus, “GoPhila” makes me think of “gopher”, which makes me think of “Puxsutawney Phil” (yes, I know he was actually a groundhog but bear with my triggered, target group associations) and that might not translate into the kind of Philly-urban-adventures “GoPhila” is promising.

  3. V.I.P. Referee says:

    Wait–“SECRET PROJECTS”? Why would you tell us that if we can’t know anything else about them?! That’s like saying, “Man, did I get you SUCH an AWESOME birthday gift! Oh, it’s sooo great. But it’s also a surprise. You’ll just have to wait to see how incredible it is.”

    Maybe this is the advertising approach “GoPhila(!)” should take: “Philly has such fantastic things to see! Oh–and we’re not going to tell you anything about this one, really, amazingly stupendous thing we have here—you’ll just have to visit Philly to experience it for yourself.”

  4. threatqualitypress says:

    I think we should try reverse psychology.

    “Yeah, look, New Yorkers–we’d actually rather you didn’t come out here. Frankly, we kind of feel like our theater scene would be over your heads.”

  5. Jeff Holland says:

    When I see “GoPhila,” I think “Gojira,” or “Godzilla.” And I think we really should make one of those for ourselves.

    What do you MEAN, “Cloverfield”?!

    Damn you, New York!!!

  6. Megan says:

    I found out this week that my state set up a store front in Manhattan that cost over $20,000 a month rent to attract tourism to the Jersey Shore. There are residents up in arms about this and the cost of rent to the state. I never see that kind of money in a years salary ever.

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