Lines of Sight

The business side of photography

Toronto Photographer: 416-540-5494

Square peg for a round hole

If you live in Toronto, you may have noticed that the city, or at least its politicians, suffer from extreme New York City envy. Toronto copies New York’s tourism campaigns and slogans, follows all NYC trends, and constantly compares itself to the Big Apple.

Back in 2002, Toronto unveiled its newest slab of concrete called “The Yonge-Dundas Square”, which was modeled after New York’s Time Square.

From the “ydsquare” web site: “A unique aspect of the Square is that it is not operated like other Civic Squares … City Council decided to … operate Yonge-Dundas Square as a business venture.”

And this is where the point to this post begins:

The Yonge-Dundas Square has become a magnet for public relations and some other media events.

My question to all you PR and marketing folks is: Why hold a press conference or other PR event at the Yonge-Dundas Square? Do you get your money’s worth after renting the venue and paying all the associated costs? Media coverage almost never depends on location.

The location should never take precedence over, or distract from, your business message.

Example one: A Toronto newspaper just ran a photo from a PR event at the Square. The published picture was about the nice weather during “an event” and not a single word was mentioned about the business or product behind the event. The newspaper got a nice summer sunshine photo and the company footing the bill got nothing.

Example two: A Toronto newspaper photographer, who was at the Square to cover another PR event, also took a few pictures of kids playing in the fountains located in the Square. The following day’s paper had a “wet kids” photo but nothing from the actual media event.

It may be cool to have your media event at the newest, flashiest place in town. Lots of bragging rights to be had. But there’s no PR value if the business message gets lost or overshadowed.

Just as the bride should be the star of her wedding, your product/service/business must be the star of your media event. Design your public relations event around the product/service/business and not around the venue. If you can make your product/service/business the star then it will be newsworthy enough to get media coverage.


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