Buffalo: For Real

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Although not something we have discussed in my Contemporary Media Issues class, I really wanted to comment on what a failure this new Buffalo promotional video has been. The city of Buffalo recently commissioned this video as attempt to promote Buffalo. The video is fine (although it makes me think the narrator is going to give me a Werther’s Original at the end) but it didn’t meet its goals (or what should be its goals anyways). I understand that some PR firm and videographer spent time doing this and should get paid for it, but I don’t see how Buffalo can go through with this campaign.

With every new project, you have to think of what the goals of this project are and how you are going to meet these goals. A PR campaign based around a commercial was obviously decided by someone (I don’t know whether this was at City Hall or at a PR firm somewhere) but either the goals of the project were seriously maligned or they just weren’t reached.

The goals of a project like this should be to get people (young, educated people are especially important to a city like Buffalo that has had a huge brain drain) and businesses to want to visit and move to Buffalo. This video doesn’t do that. It might make people who grew up in the region nostalgic (It certainly tugs on the heartstrings if you recognize the scenery) but it comes across as a video talking about the past of Buffalo, not the future. Where is the footage of what Buffalo really is right now? Where is the footage of the Parties in the Plaza before Sabres games? Where is the footage of Thursday In the Square? Where is footage of the Dyngus Day celebrations? The numerous festivals that occur all summer long? The tailgates before Bills games? Talk about the promise of UB2020? The footage of communities truly bonding? The stuff that truly makes people want to stay there?

This video is a failure because it doesn’t show those things. Yes, Buffalo has beautiful parks and architecture. But that is only a small part of what makes Buffalo Buffalo. The people and the events that occur throughout the year are what make people stay in WNY – not the houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or City Hall. This has largely turned into a rant, but this video should have been easy to make. It is well produced but missed the mark. The taxpayers of Buffalo and Erie County should be a little concerned that this was not only hyped as much as it was but that they had to pay for it. It goes to show the importance of paying attention to the goals of your client and a city.