Interesting reaction and perspective

April 24, 2012


I can honestly say that when I was told by staff that the City had been approached to showcase/profile Guelph on Terry Bradshaw’s show as a “gem of a City”, I was both proud and excited. And so were our staff.  

And to be honest, I still am. 

I appreciate the Guelph Mercury’s perspective (City misled community about video).  It was  not one I had considered. Having said that, my original reaction of feeling “proud and excited” on being approached for this opportunity remains.  We were.  That is and was my experience. The Mercury’s perspective suggests deception where there was none.  

I also appreciate the perspective of Economic Development.  They believed they could not produce a video for the same amount so they felt the $25,000 was well worth securing the rights to use it for their promotional purposes.  Council approves a budget for Economic Development precisely for this type of promotion.  This made sense to me at the time and still does.

I read the article in the Guelph Tribune a week ago which reported on how the video came about including how much the City paid. So the cost has certainly been in the public realm.  And it seemed to me that the Guelph Tribune article was fair coverage.  It certainly did not cause me to question my perspective on my experience. 

Promoting Guelph is part of my job description. I have come to learn that bothers a few people.  However, as someone just wrote to me about this “controversy” – “A friend of mine from India used to tell me leaders need to be like elephants. The dogs can bark all they want, they need to keep moving.” 

In a highly competitive economy, Guelph has a lot to offer. So I will continue to do my job and promote this video. I will continue to tell people we were approached to showcase/profile Guelph because that is what happened.  The more people who see this video, the better. So I appreciate the Guelph Mercury’s help to raise awarenss of it locally although we do need to get the message out beyond our borders.

I have spoken about this video in many presentations in the community.  Now I can show the video rather than just talk about it.  I suspect in many cases, I will also take the opportunity to disclose and reflect upon  the reaction of the Guelph Mercury and some members of the community with my audience.

About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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2 Comments on “Interesting reaction and perspective”

  1. Susan Says:

    Am I correct in understanding that the $24,500 fee is for the licensing rights for the City to use the finished product for its own purposes? I really don’t get the moral outrage from the Mercury (especially since this figure was printed on the front page of the Tribune a week ago!) If someone wrote a book about Guelph, would it be “misleading” if the City purchased its own copies to distribute?

    $24,500 is a fraction of the true cost of hiring a professional writer, producer, director, camera crew, editor and celebrity host, let alone travel costs, per diems and the value of the television air time. This really was a gift to the City. If $24,500 allows us to use it for our own purposes, fantastic! Thanks Karen.

  2. Lloyd Longfield Says:

    As a part of our Prosperity 2020 plan, one of our goals over the next 10 years as a community is to proactively promote our residential and business attractiveness. This video does both, and highlights both secondary and post secondary education as a key asset. Natural and cultural heritage are placed beside environmental and economic attributes. Guelph’s sustainable development plan runs right through the video.

    The Mayor consulted with many people in making her decision, including the Chamber of Commerce. Burlington had a similar video produced by other means for almost double the cost (no criticism on Burlington – that was an excellent video too), which did not include potential TV markets or exposure into the USA. Infomercials work, or there would be no market for shopping channels. Paying for production and the rights to use a product that was produced professionally is really not a controversy. And I can remember the discussion around the known distribution hits, potential for expansion through syndication, and ownership of the video for community use being something we thought was a good thing. Scam websites would have a different take on all this. They might also think advertising is a form of conspiracy.

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