Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cleveland Is Not New York

A recent Plain Dealer article illustrates quite well how NOT to advertise a city to new residents. A firm (PR Newswire) is closing down its operations in New York and relocating to Cleveland (among other places). Its New York City employees, however, are not necessarily chomping at the bit to move to America's most impoverished city. So the City of Cleveland put together a small-scale marketing tour of the city, the purpose of which was to woo those "hip" New Yorkers.

Not a bad idea, I guess. Certainly we should applaud the city for taking an active hand in addressing the concerns of potential relocatees (not quite a real word, huh?). But, IMHO, the city missed the point!

The tour covered the following locations (according to the article): Crocker Park, Warehouse District, East 4th, and Stonebridge. That is, the tour attempted to show these New Yorkers the elements of Cleveland that attempt to replicate the New York experience. The marketing message, in this case, runs something like this: "We know your city (New York) is awesome. And you think Cleveland isn't. But look! Cleveland has this and that feature that are indeed similar to your crazy New York life!"

Except, unfortunately, that Cleveland pales in comparison to New York when compared on New York's own terms. New York has ten times the bars, ten times the restaurants, ten times the diversity, ten times the population density, ten times the public living, ten times the economic opportunity, and ten times the urban living of Cleveland. When you evaluate Cleveland as if it were New York, you miss the point.

City promoters need to woo outsiders not by showing them how Cleveland (poorly) replicates the experiences of their cities; rather, Cleveland needs to promote its impressive assets. Besides a low cost of living (already mentioned in the article), Cleveland has:

(1) A beautiful lake!

(2) Lots of greenspace, easily accessible and close to the city!

(3) Very little traffic.

(4) A great restaurant scene!

(5) Great economic opportunity for recent college grads.

When city promoters wake up and see all the wonderful things their city has to offer, they'll finally be in a position to effectively market Cleveland.


Anonymous Ralph Perk said...

"Start spreading the News..."

In a Cleveland State of Mind
Some peeps like to get away
Bounce outta’ da hood
Stylin’ in Miami Beach
Or chillin’ in Hollywood
But I'm rollin’ in a SUV
Maxin' my plastic at Beechwood
I'm in a Cleveland state of mind

I've been drunk at all the sports bars
Made out with strippers in limousines
Cleared up my urine sample with stuff from Walgreens
But ya’ feel da itch I’m scratchin’
And I love wasting my time
I'm in a Cleveland state of mind

It’s so rough living day by day
Bein' the poorest city in the news
But now I need a little Steak and Shake
A shout out to my peeps and all my crews

It comes down to delusion
And I've let reality slide
Nothin' happen'on East or West Side
A man for all seasons
Here, “no child’s left behind”
I’m in a Cleveland state of mind

My life is check to check
Spendin' my kid's bucks on my brews
Eatin' fries with my shake
'Tween strip and mega malls, I can’t choose

It comes down to duality
And I've let my medication slide
Don't care if it's East or West Side
A man for all seasons
Here, “no child’s left behind”
I'm in a Cleveland State of mind

Rollin’ in a SUV, feelin’ brain dead and fine
'Cause I'm in a Cleveland state of mind

2:03 PM  
Blogger jay-c said...

Actually, there is a post on this at, which explains what "really happened" on that tour, and as it turns out, this sounds like a very GOOD, very URBAN tour!

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree talk about what headaches they will leave behind. You ll get nowhere showing them "me too" features of Cleveland.

2:55 PM  

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