New tourism ad makes Calgary look like, well, almost anywhere

So why are so many people calling the ‘viral’ video a huge success?


A new video promoting the City of Calgary has been making the rounds on social media sites this week with many people calling the soulful montage a “viral success” for Calgary tourism – despite having under 1, 000 views on YouTube.

The generic tourism ad is part of the ‘Be Part of the Energy’ campaign, which aims to attract business and tourists to Alberta’s biggest city, and has been discussed at length on Canadian news outlets, including Global News, CTV and the CBC. Is the ad reflective of a new, more cosmopolitan Calgary? Is the new ad too youthful? Is it fair to baby-boomers and senior citizens? Is this the image that Calgary wants? Will this be a game-changer for Calgary? Has Calgary arrived?

A more relevant question may be, why is a broad and derivative ad fueling so many questions? While the spot is certainly attractive and well-edited, it is a tourism ad. Like most tourism ads in Canada, it showcases a bevy of young, multicultural people running, jumping and slow-motion laughing in the sunlight – not exactly controversial stuff.

Like most tourism ads it also shows a broad and sweeping picture of urban life that says very little about Calgary in particular. Should it surprise anyone that in Calgary, people attend business meetings and go jogging? Does it open your eyes that Calgary has attractive restaurants and Frisbee enthusiasts? That Calgary girls shop and Calgary boys  drink beer? While there are a few cowboys and mountains shots, 80 per cent of that footage could just as easily be an ad for Vancouver, or Kansas City, or Winnipeg, or Saturday.

In the end, the most interesting travel ads (like Newfoundland’s, for example) will always show off the things that are unique to visitors and boring to locals. It doesn’t matter how many restaurants you open, Calgary, you’re always going to get more attention for your fabulous set of mountains. Own it.

Or don’t.. The point is, if you want to attract tourists to your city for a relaxing vacation, you’ve got to loosen up and stop second guessing yourself.

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New tourism ad makes Calgary look like, well, almost anywhere

  1. MacLeans usual innuendos and distortions at anything West of Winnipeg continues.
    Their “Ottawa Runs on Oil” articles two weeks ago speak of their grossly anti-West policies and expected distortions of life in Alberta in spite of the fact that Canadians are pouring West in increasing numbers to get work followed by thousands from BC. In addition the latest Quebec Book trashing the oilsands, countersigned by Mulcair is highlighted in MacLeans. I cancelled my subscription to this political polemic some time ago.
    Classic case of …”fire and fury signifying nothing”
    Albertas oilsands pour $6 BILLION in parts and service across Canada plus $100 billion over 8 years in equalisation payments to Ottawa to keep Quebec and Ontario afloat in their sea of red ink. The list reads 500 Prevost Busses/8 Bombardier PLanes/ 38,000 Ford/GM/Dodge TRUCKS/Motors/switchgear/conveyors/steel/electronics/tools, etc etc etc.

    • Um, yeah, that’s great and all, but it doesn’t really have much to do with Calgary’s dull tourism ad.

    • Google Alberta Norway

  2. Multicultural??? you should have a second look

  3. Maybe I’m the odd one, but I think the ad reflects what I know of Calgary (minus the traffic jams)!

  4. what’s with the trashing of this ad… it’s a tourism ad so obviously it’ll be overly positive and make the City look upbeat, exciting, blah blah blah. It’s targeted at people in their mid-20s: the age group to attract if you’re a growing city. I’m in my mid (to late) 20s and this ad literally covers everything there is to do in Calgary when you’re that age. My opinion: this ad is a great success for what it is trying to accomplish (all politics aside).

  5. I have been here since 1956 and drove taxi between 1977 and 1986. I resented hundreds of bad drivers in my work place, but that is a problem everywhere. When or if, you visit you’ll want to take the bus because the taxi rates are WAY out of control. And your driver has sat at the airport for the last two hours and will hate you unless your destination is at the other end of the city.

    I recommend you come during the summer because, well, never mind, just don’t come
    in the winter. There is a good reason the only evidence of cool temperatures is
    business people wearing overcoats down town in the dark. That’s advertising. Nobody
    hangs down town in Calgary
    except drug addicts and homeless people. And I was homeless so I know. Maybe
    I’ll write more some other time; maybe not.

  6. The video was posted to YouTube by each agency.

    The linked video here on Tourism Calgary’s YouTube page has 6700 views.
    The video on Calgary Economic Devleopment’s YouTube page has 69000 views. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrIPjfwhpQ4)

    A far, far cry from “less than 1000 views”

  7. Imagine the Prime Minister everyone loves to hate coming from a place where young educated decent people seem to thrive.
    Imagine if the whole country could adopt this instead of rioting when they want more free things from those who work.
    Imagine work
    Imagine pride
    Imagine Calgary.

    I live in Victoria and I love what Calgary contributes to our country.
    Jealousy is a horrible thing.

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