Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Winnipeg Jets Roller Coaster

Here we go again...they're back! Its a done deal. We'll have a franchise next year. Yes Winnipeggers are resilient thanks to half our lives being buried in snow and the mysterious "windchill" which is actually not the real temperature, but the one which tells us whether we'll be walking to the store or raiding the fridge for scraps of food.

Can this really be happening again? Could I have actually fell for it again?

I sat and listened to Hustler & Lawless' debut on 1290 sports radio talking about this being the biggest crossroads we've come across in 15 years. But before the show was even done, doubt seemed to be the theme.

Yes, we are NHL compatible. Yes, we're likely next in line to get a team should one move. SHOULD ONE MOVE. Hustler said he'd never covered this in the past because it never seemed real, and to report on it would be career suicide, but now its more real than ever. Well Hustler...I hear Rona has a sale on nooses and stubby stools to stand on.

Regardless of the efforts of the Goldwater Institute or all the press about how hockey should return to the 'Peg, we're no closer than we were last year at this time when saliva was flowing from the mouths of hungry Jets fans.

I'm proposing we put a ban on all local media reporting anything Jets related until the official press conference is ready to be announced. At this time of year, its bad enough dealing with the black cloud that rests over every Winnipegger's head who can't afford to travel somewhere warm to recoup their sanity. We're already one of the most miserable city populations on Earth, we don't need empty promises to raise the water levels above our noses.

Any city who thinks you can freeze property taxes for 15 years and progress in infrastructure are too cheap to sustain a franchise anyway. Don't get me wrong, I'd be all over the season ticket band wagon - that is collectively with a large group of friends for a portion of the season's games. None the less, I'd be among the sea of white. However, until this town learns that you need to have the attitude of a big city to support big city ideas, we'll always be the place people move from not to. That is unless of course you were born here, than you always move back after your first rent bill in a bigger town.

Anybody got a quarter to keep this merry-go-around spinning? I'm sure 1290 sports or the Free Press will since all this is is a play on our emotions to sell advertising.

Shhh...I think I hear the Jets coming.

Monday, December 13, 2010

MB Homecoming Lives Up To Tagline

I don't know if it was the billboard in Neepawa or the mad deals on nips at Sals, but according to Travel Manitoba President and CEO Hubert Mesman, MB Homecoming was a success...possibly...well, maybe...could've helped tourism or something...

I mean, we all should know by now that all these programs set out by the Economic Developments and Chambers of Winnipeg have no real accountable measures in place, so why would we expect any details on the success of this $2.5 million taxpayer expenditure? That would mean the organizers running these programs may actually lose their firm grip on the handouts from Selinger, and have to go out and find a real job like the rest of us. At least Yes Winnipeg! were able to raise the appropriate dollars from the private sector to pay themselves a salary for the next few years - a much tastier and more respectful nipple to suckle from.

Yes, when asked about the project's success in hitting the targets of 50,000 additional visitors & 100,000 additional hotel-room nights this year in Manitoba, Executive Director Kevin Walters proudly exclaimed "it's impossible to tell."

Wow! This tourism initiative really lived up to its tagline "You ain't seen nothing yet!" No we haven't, nor will we ever truly know if this brilliance in tourism marketing did anything more than to keep a bunch of government funded cliques with enough money to pay their bills through the 2010 season.

When will the madness stop?! When will we quit allowing for these programs to exist without any accountability to results? Shouldn't part of the plan to award the funding be to outline how results will be measured? Isn't this key to any investment of taxpayer dollars? Did no one at the MB Hotel Association think that if family members were inviting other family members to come back to MB for a visit that they may very well stay with the relative that invited them?

Thanks MB Homecoming 2010, you truly brought "Spirited Energy" back to Manitoba.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blue Bombers Build Elliot High Enough to Fall

All week the hype in the media was building our curiosity of Joey Elliot. His confidence, almost cocky attitude. His chance to shine in the spotlight as the Bombers look ahead to the next season. The Tom Brady-like potential of a kid who got a shot due to unforeseen circumstances who...just maybe...could be the future of the Blue's most critical position.

And what do they do?... Rip the opporunity from him at the end of the game.

Anyone who managed to stay awake the whole game against Edmonton witnessed the public castration of Elliot's leadership potential. With less than a minute on the clock left in the game, after choosing to pull 3-points off the board by accepting a penalty, one would think the Bombers were going for the win. Why wouldn't they? They only have spoiler to play and nothing but further fan support to lose. The latter was all they accomplished.

Why run the ball on 2nd and 3? Elliot was showing true flashes of leadership and poise when the game was on the line. All year the issue has been the Bombers inability to finish, and here you have a kid who's making throws, looking confident and driving the ball. A true test of his ability. A real moment of excitement for die-hard fans looking to cling to something. Nope...we're gonna run the ball and kick and field goal. What?!

Watching this play out was the epitomy of the Bomber season. A bunch of potential wasted. Let Elliot finish the drive! Let him answer the question of "can I finish?"

I can't imagine one Bomber fan who doesn't feel like the last breath of hope about the future was exhaled with the decision to run.

When you've had the season like the Blue have had, all you can do is hope to find meaning in meaningless games like these last two. After sucking the potential from Elliot like the coaches did; I'd be surprised if anyone shows up to the Stadium to witness the final disappointment of the 2010 Bomber season.

You have the right to come up with a new slogan next year and hope "the Blue Revolution" all forget.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Winnipeg Kick Heard Round the World

Thank you Mayor Sam Katz for kicking Winnipeg into the global spotlight, courtesy of one child's face.

Over the last week, there has been more press and internet activity centred on Winnipeg than any efforts ever made by the very lame "Winnipeg Incredibly Cool" website by Destination Winnipeg who are now Economic Development Winnipeg; the "Selling Winnipeg to the World" initiative which is now "Yes Winnipeg" and the "Winnipeg Inland Port" project which is now "CentrePort Canada".

Millions of Winnipeggers' tax dollars continue to poor into these efforts to put Winnipeg on the map, driving interest for businesses and people to relocate to our city, without any reportable results. Meanwhile, our Mayor kicks one kid in the face - at no cost other than a few scared parents and a bag of ice to slow the swelling - and suddenly all eyes are on the 'Peg.

What's my point? My point is results. The viral nature of information flow provides the ability to capture an audience - though often brief - it gives you those rare moments to educate and excite people about something. I'm not suggesting we have Sam randomly kick kids in the face each week and post it on YouTube, what I'm suggesting is that there are ways these entities that are responsible for marketing Winnipeg to the world can use the viral flow of information to keep eyes on Winnipeg.

Now, I'm not saying I have the answer to what this may be. I do know it needs to be consistent, and it needs to have a target audience in mind. Its not putting up a video called "Does Winnipeg Really Exist?" and cutting and pasting a bunch of movie and tv mentions of Winnipeg to show that this some how makes us relevant. I still shake my head at that one.

A perfect example of the lack of vision this city has in how we market ourselves is in a recent conversation I had with the women now responsible for social media at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. She openly admitted to me she's never really used any social media platforms, and out of the blue one day, was given this role for the Chamber. This is the same group that started "Selling Winnipeg To The World" - an initiative that, when it started, didn't even have an internet strategy. Now, they hand over the job of social media to a person that seemed more scared than excited about it.

If it wasn't for Sam's misguided foot and a couple of lap dancing teachers, I don't think Winnipeg would have made news beyond Brandon over this last year. That's right...let's just keep pouring millions into giving people jobs to market the city without any consequence for failure. I'm sure there's plenty more Government nipples to go around.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Widening Inkster & Widening Costs

Okay...I'm all for the development of Winnipeg's inland port. I feel our geographic location is a fit; our successful Manitoba manufacturing and aerospace companies will benefit; and the potential for new business development and job creation is immense. What I'm not sure of is what has truly been accomplished to this point other than a tremendous level of spending of taxpayers money?

A trip to Mexico and tour of the Southern U.S. resulted in squat. I mean what impact are Diane Gray and her team making on these trips if, when reported on, they can't even spell her name right? click here Didn't she leave a business card?

Have they secured the land in Rosser yet? No. Without this, how will they secure tenants? Maybe they should spend less money touring the world, and more time working out relations with the rest of Manitoba.

Does anyone in Winnipeg even know anything about this project? No. I know this for a fact as I'm out meeting with companies all the time. Majority of people just think this whole project is the airport expansion. I'm sure that's why Michael Rodyniuk left. He probably got tired of explaining that the two projects are completely separate from one another.

Now I see that all the talk is around being Canada's first foreign trade zone. I'd say this is a pretty big deal. Why isn't the CentrePort Canada team shouting this to the heavens? They make a small mention on their website and that's it!

My point is there needs to be more education and marketing locally in order for Winnipeggers & Manitobans to talk less about noise pollution and tax spending and more about the potential for provincial prosperity.

With the millions of dollars already spent, when will we see some real business deals closed and the potential for return on investment? Yes Winnipeg! I sure hope so...

Friday, April 23, 2010

CentrePort Canada A Little Late on a Business Plan

I just read that CentrePort Canada, Winnipeg's Inland Port, is going to be releasing their first official business plan.

Is it just me or does this seem a little late?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Winnipeg Slips as Desired Place to Move

Well I thought we were selling Winnipeg to the world, but according to U-Haul, we should be focusing on Canadians first.

U-Haul International, Inc. just released the results of their annual 2009 U-Haul National Migration Trend Report titled "The 2009 Top 25 Canadian Destination Cities." According to moving data reflective of nationwide statistics for calendar year 2009, Winnipeg fell from 11th in 2008 to 14th in 2009 for destinations in Canada where Canadians want to move.

Toronto, at no surprise except to everyone in the Prairies, was ranked No. 1 for the eighth year in a row, while Calgary came in at second for the sixth year in a row. Montreal took third and moved up from No. 4, with Edmonton dropping to fourth place from No. 3. Ottawa, Vancouver, London, Hamilton, Surrey and Mississauga rounded out the top 10.

I supposed the people at the Wpg Chamber of Commerce will need to read the economic development plans for London, Hamilton and Missassuaga as the information they "borrowed" from Halifax doesn't seem to be working.

Nobobdy blames people for moving away from Winnipeg, but the nice thing about us Winnipeggers is we're always happy to welcome their return, as many do. Now just to attract those that aren't ex-Pats?...

I wonder if Missassauga just has more Spirited Energy?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Winnipeg Education - From the strap to meds

My wife is a teacher, and a lot of our friends are teachers or in education. Many of my evenings are spent hearing about our education system. Its not all bad, but there is definite concern. From the lack of accountability to the growing population of children entering the system who have either grown up in broken homes or foster care, what I often hear is that the system is moving more toward day care than it is teaching.

One topic that comes up constantly is the number of children being prescribed medication for behavioural issues. ADD to autism, violence to lethargy; all seem to be remedied by one quick trip to the doctor's office. It was only recently that I realized how much of my wife's day is spent just issuing meds to the kids.

In my Dad's day, if you acted up or if you weren't doing what you were supposed to, the principal gave you the strap. There are countless stories my Dad told me of him or his siblings or his friends getting a lashing from administration.

Am I saying we should go back to the strap? No. Am I saying that meds don't work? No. Am I saying I have the answer? No. What I am saying or asking is, how many of you know just how many meds are being prescribed to children these days? Do you know the process? Is it your kids? What is the long-term implication?

I have no answers, but I have questions. If you have questions, make sure you ask them.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Winnipeg Jets Rumour Update

So the propaganda continues. Was Bettman really in the city and spotted at a Moose game? We all know how bad Chipman wants the Jets under his roof. We don't know how much Dave Thomson wants it...but if he does, we know he's got the cash.

Here's what I heard as of 11pm last night:

The Atlanta Thrashers will be relocated and we have our Jets back. The Moose will be moving to Saskatoon as they've been battling for a professional hockey team for years. The Winnipeg Jets will hit the ice in September of this year.

Did you hear it here first? I guess we'll find out soon...or will we?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yellow Pages' Continues To Move Away From Print

It was just recently announced that Yellow Pages Group have purchased two online properties to expand their online advertising products; Clear Sky Media Inc., owner of, and Scarlett Lounge and; acquired an ownership interest in 411 Local Search Corp. This is further proof that management at YPG are preparing for the eventual demise of their printed directory.

The Yellow Pages Group have been scrambling over the last year to battle against the plummeting advertising sales traditionally captured in their printed directories. Realizing the book is more a door stop than a reference guide, they've had no choice but to quickly develop an online strategy to remain relevant in the age of new media.

The actions of YPG are clearly reactive based on the shift in dollars from print to online. Business owners must move with caution in trusting the expertise of YPG when it comes to selling services online. In fact, they may be out and out lying to companies in their recent approach.

I've spoke with quite a number of businesses over the last two months, identifying a major confusion in the marketplace when it comes to the relationship between the Yellow Pages Group and Google. These business owners are being told by YPG sales reps that they have a "partnership" with Google. This is far from the truth.

YPG have made a "strategic agreement" with Google to resell their AdWords program. This is not a partnership, and should not be communicated as such. Any person can open their own AdWords account and manage this auction for keywords. Yellow Pages, because they have always focused on local markets, have chosen to take on this management for their clients as part of a package when selling ads in their printed directories. In my mind, this is just smoke & mirrors for YPG to come across as providing more than they are. I know for a fact that in my local market, it was only this year that the sales reps for YPG were trained on how to manage AdWords programs to add it to their selling mix. A 2-day course doesn't produce experts in the field of online marketing.

What happens in the future with YPG is still up in the air. They are very new to online marketing. My message to business owners is invest your money elsewhere in other media this year. Allow YPG some time to get their direction clear and some experience under their belt.