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Piling On Toronto Unlimited

There has been so much criticism of the feeble Toronto Unlimited tourism marketing campaign, there is even a blog about it now.

The story-behind-the-brand website explains a bit about how the brand was created, and they seem to have done all the right things. The brand story that they've come up with doesn't sound terribly focused or powerful, but it's in their expression of the strategy that they have really fallen short.

First of all, it's unoriginal. Just Google the word "unlimited", and you find page after page of brands calling themselves "(Blank) Unlimited". That's not to mention the recent tourism campaign for London (UK), which just happened to be "London Unlimited". And in graphics and font, it bears great resemblance to what the Bahamas has done, with a touch of the old Toronto Hydro logo colours.

Furthermore, it's unappealing and boring. For example, in the brand story they mention that "[t]he city’s unique diversity has quietly exploded into a variety of attractions that are unmatched elsewhere", and yet we have plain-looking ads with no character.

Worst of all, the attractions of the city that are scattered throughout the strategy barely come through in the ads that I've seen. It was like there was just so much good stuff they couldn't find a theme and lumped it all together as "Unlimited".

Various attempts have been made to point the blame one way or another. This was essentially a public-private partnership, with representation from all the major tourist-related industries, as well as the levels of government. Some will try to attribute this to the various committees that had management responsibility, but that's too easy. In a project like this, there are usually key turning points where the professionals involved either deliver something excellent, or fail to do so.

In any case, it's too bad. This new approach is decidely inferior to the Toronto: You Belong Here campaign that preceeded it.

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