Friday, July 23, 2010

VERITAS: TOUCHDOWN - FALLS AVENUE RESORT SHOWS TORONTO THE LOVE

This week's perspective from Aliya Jiwan:

We’re always on the lookout for good or bad communications plays, and when paid media generates earned media, it always makes the team here at TD+F stop and look. Sometimes, the attention is unwanted, as was the case this week with the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), when they launched an ad campaign that painted Toronto as a crime and graffiti-ridden city and left many GTA residents fuming. The commercials contrast one scene of stressful life in the city with another of peaceful Niagara. The resulting headlines focused on Toronto’s dismay at the campaign, mayoral candidate “Furious” George Smitherman’s anger over the commercials and then the NPC’s decision to scale them back. The whole thing had Hogtowners screaming foul. But sometimes even the worst media coverage yields a great opportunity. In this case, while NPC officials were trying to kiss and makeup with their big-city neighbour, one Niagara Falls resort was cozying up to GTA tourists with a “We Love Toronto” offer. The Falls Avenue Resort, which includes the downtown Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, Skyline and Hampton Inn hotels, will offer rooms for most of September to GTA visitors for $79 a night, with the proceeds going to the Hospital for Sick Children. Now that’s love. During a crisis, thought leadership or CSR initiatives can often lessen the impact. This quick-thinking reaction to negative media attention has insulated the Falls Avenue Resort from what could have been a damaging PR campaign. For a deft recovery, it’s a touchdown.

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