We here at Torontoist are always fans of new campaigns to boost our fair city’s reputation, but the problem is that most of these campaigns are, shall we say, kind of pathetic. No, actually — not “kind of.” They’re just pathetic. Almost universally they cast Toronto as a handy convenient replacement for some other city you’d like to go to. “Toronto! It’s almost like Paris, and you don’t have to spend money on a transoceanic flight!” “A trip to Toronto is like a trip to New York, but on a Buffalo budget!” “Toronto: the Sydney of the northern hemisphere, with less ocean!” And of course we were quite disparaging regarding the city’s most recent attempt in this area.
So when an independent effort arises to publicize Toronto, we’re all ears and happy to give it props. Unfortunately, Global Capital of Style is not what we were looking for. It starts off with the background image of a very punchable-looking hipster, and just proceeds downhill from there at a rapid clip.
Firstly, of their eight initial ads on the website, two feature Mike Myers. Yes, Mike Myers is funny. (Or was funny, depending on your point of view.) But Mike Myers isn’t an ad for Toronto. He doesn’t live here any more. Yes, this is the time of year when he goes on talk shows pointedly wearing his Leafs jersey so we all remember he’s technically still Canadian content, all the better for when his career finally sputters and dies and he moves back here to capitalize off our remaining nativist goodwill like Norman Jewison did, but how is that an advertisement for Toronto?
Come to think, why is an advertisement with Myers dressed as Austin Powers clever and relevant? And look at some of these other references. Prince? Martin Short? Diddy, for fuck’s sake? Sorry, but did someone forget to tell Torontoist it is actually eight years ago now? How about something a little less dated? (Torontoist would like to see a promotional poster for Toronto that talks about how our hips do not lie. That’s only a year or so played out, which in tourism-time is the language of tomorrow.)
Even worse, throughout these advertisements, the language is — and we’re being generous here — stilted and awkward. “We are not funny… We are really, really funny!” They’re called apostrophes, people! Look into them! “PS. Sorry Justin sexy never really did leave…” Yes, it did! It left with the commas that were supposed to be in that sentence fragment!
And yet, the badly phrased advertisements are the high point of the language to be found on globalcapitalofstyle.com, because for some really enjoyable terrible writing, you must delve into their manifesto, which reads like the emo poetry on the MySpace of an intern fired from the city’s tourism committee. “Enough of the money spent on ads going into major American media that hasn’t even been spelt check.” Or, even more delicious: “We don’t do thing half-ass.” (Yes. “Thing.” Singular.) How about “Far too long has the city been mired in crappy advertising and nonsensical marketing”? My God, there’s only so much irony that the average human can withstand!
In short: the next time you complain about the latest shitty ad campaign put together by the city to promote tourism here, take a moment to remember that it could be far, far worse. You could live in a Global Capital of Style.