Posted by: Ian Ross | April 1, 2009

Getting Older Isn’t A Good Communication Campaign

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing a lot of anniversaries in Toronto being celebrated very publicly with PR and advertising.

The City of Toronto is celebrating 175 years. They had song contests, a book published, free concerts, a full week of activities in March and lots of speeches from the Mayor. York University is 50 and telling everyone they can with ads covering subway stations floor to ceiling, lots of fundraising activities, an online video contest, public lectures and much more.

I’ve seen lots of banks, retailers and others do the same — spend big money and effort to promote their age.

But why? What are you strategically trying to communicate to your publics? Look at me, I’m old?

Yes, anniversaries tend to get attention. The media often eat it up – a decent news peg. Perhaps if you are trying to establish yourself as the solid, reliable veteran in your industry, this could be a good opportunity. But otherwise, it means going off message for a year and spending a lot of money to do that. Then the next year you are scrambling to reestablish your public image and message again.

Newfoundland seems to have it right. They ain’t doing much for their 60th birthday this year. Premier Danny Williams, never lost for a good quote, said, “If it just happens to be another decade, the 60th, to me [it] doesn’t seem extra special.”

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