Saturday, November 18, 2006

branding vancouver

This has been bugging me for a while. It really set me off the other day when I read this article over at RET. One of the lines in particular rendered me even more apoplectic -
Baxter said the construction stimulated by the games is "the real issue . . . which brings a lot of people who would otherwise go to [Alberta's] oilpatch."

Then, more importantly, is the role the games' play in reinforcing Vancouver as a brand, because "the Olympics is not a destination event, it's a branding event."

Reinforcing a brand? To what purpose? If I wanted to live in a brand, I would go and live in the mindlessness of Celebration, U.S.A.: Disney's Brave New Town.

I didn't move here 20 years ago because Vancouver was a cool brand, I moved here because I found a laid-back little city that was unpretentious. Now everything is being branded - Science World becomes Telus Land, we have GM Place, what else did I miss? Coffee just isn't coffee unless it's Starbucks or Tim Horton's (it's all crappy coffee - no matter how much it costs you), people walk around with their Tommy Hilfrigger, DINK sweats, Nike this or that, and so on, paying huge money to advertise for rich cats.

Who wants to pay double what it's worth to live in Vancouver TM? I didn't vote for that. Who gains from it? All I do is lose from it. Bub Rainy, Gordon (Jail Bird) Campbell, the owners of IntraWest, and their ilk are getting filthy rich from the branding of Vancouver, and we are paying for it. And our children will be paying for it. It is so sad and ridiculous, it makes me laugh. But it's a nervous, embarrassed kind of laughter.

I voted against the Olympics, and I voted against the hundreds of millions of dollars to be borrowed by the city. There was a fairly clear division between East Van. and Van. West in that vote. East Vancouver voted against it by-and-large, with the opposite true for Vancouver West. The summer that Vancouver/Whistler's bid was accepted, I was in Ontario, and someone congratulated me on the award. Poor guy set me off, and I started railing about what it would really mean - higher home prices, higher taxes, deficits, and debt. I hadn't even considered the branding.

Humans are sickeningly stupid (pardon my misanthropy). A case in point is the water issue right now. People running out to buy brands of water. I heard that a couple of people actually got into a fist-fight because they both wanted the last couple of bottles of Whistler brand water. There was probably generic water from the same source d'eau right beside it for half the price, but it wasn't branded, so they fought over it. Here's a lttle brand trivia for you - Evian (a huge brand of water) spells Naive backwards.

Branding. Hmmph!


Babybull40 said...

hey soli, little sista here.. you know it doesn't matter where you go in North America, you will find branding everywhere and anywhere. I can find similar products branded with different lables for less the price, So I wonder what gives with the friggin hype. You pay more for the higher quality or the brand? I think it's both.I like the simple things. Yeah all that other shite looks nice,Nike and Reebok and son on, it's all in the marketing and how the present the brand to the consumer, which to me is all B.S anyway.. I like shopping with the no frills tags and just because it says Tommy Hilfrigger doesn't mean it's actually better.. they want you to think that...just my two ya big man

Anonymous said...

In our neighbourhood in Mt. Pleasant a big condo development went up a while ago with this on their billboard.

"A neighbourhood reborn".

Well, excuse me, but I have lived here for over 10 years, and no rebirthing was required here.

All part of the packaging and branding that has led people to put their money into granite countertops and apartment gyms rather than square footage.

solipsist said...

"A neighbourhood reborn".

I'll bet that the new rendition is a step backwards.

All I can think of is the line from The Who - I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth, because I bet that any kids born into your "reborn" neighbourhood, will be born to mortgagees that cannot afford a silver spoon.