There is a new video promoting Yorkton making its rounds on a special media site these days, and it is one which is getting mixed reviews to say the least.
And the mixed reviews are warranted given that the video has both good and bad elements to it.
So let’s start with the good.
The video was made with lots of good intentions. The idea behind it is that the video, or portions thereof, will be played on television stations as a means to advertise Yorkton as a vibrant city which people should consider for business development, or to move to for jobs.
Anything that works toward attracting business to our city is a good thing.
We saw the impact advertising can have when the Last Cattle Frontier project held a series of meetings in Alberta, and successfully helped a number of cattle producers there make the final decision to move to East Central Saskatchewan.
In that case the meetings, of course, were targeted at a group that was known to be looking to move in the face of costly and scarce land to expand operations in Alberta. The meetings were tightly targeted and built on an understood interest.
This new video ad is more of a scattergun approach, hitting television stations here and there across the United States and into eastern Canada, with time slots that vary as well.
It might hit someone watching who has thoughts to expand to Saskatchewan, or at least plant a seed the city exists, but the target is still completely unknown.
But we can hope.
And then there is the bad.
The video starts with the smiling face of Terry Bradshaw. If you are not an American football fan that will mean little. He is a one time pro quarterback, turned announcer, who was brought in by the production firm to narrate a video about our city.
That Bradshaw speaks for our city upsets many. It begs the question why someone local would not be speaking for Yorkton.
People such as Phil DeVos and Jay Boyd have done voice-overs for years, are local and more than qualified.
Want a ‘name’ voice, then at least look to Saskatchewan, or Canada. Local contacts with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Canadian film industry could surely have found someone.
And then as Bradshaw speaks and stumbles over the word Saskatchewan we cringe, laugh at it because it is so bad, wonder again why he was involved and are thankful at least it is not ‘Yorktown’.
It also begs the question why local people involved with the project did not ask that Bradshaw master the rather simple pronunciation of Saskatchewan, and redo those parts before release?
There is also a question of timing with the video.
It has former Mayor James Wilson speaking throughout. It has been nearly a year since he was Mayor and one might imagine more current footage was possible with a video under five-minutes.
In a video like this our sitting Mayor should feature prominently. Promoting our city well is a huge part of why we elected him.
Of course it was an American production company, which again is somewhat disappointing. While they approached local interests, one would hope you might look for local/Canadian options.
We at the paper, and organizations such as the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce and Yorkton Business Improvement District spend a lot of effort promoting the idea of buying locally first, before looking farther afield in the province and country.
As for content, it shows the City of Yorkton aspect of our community well, but if you are trying to attract business and employees, it should have been more inclusive.
Economic development people often point out that business looks to communities that offer employees key things, education and health care topping the list. They are elements missing here.
So too is any mention of the significant contribution First Nations people have here in our city.
In fact, for a vibrant multicultural city like Yorkton the video is sadly completely ‘white’.
And there is no mention of programming to help newcomers to our city.
So the video is flawed, seriously so if you have any pride in Saskatchewan, but it was made with good intentions, and hopefully on some station in somewhere USA, it gets a businessman picking up the telephone to learn more.