Saturday, January 23, 2010

Keeping Current is Always a Challenge

I know, I know. It's tough, right? You don't want to be the jerk who takes down his Christmas lights too early, but you really don't want to be the jerk who leaves them up right through to next Christmas. Managing your message is a tricky business no matter who you are, and the problem is only magnified when you represent a large organization and depend on keeping its communications timely, relevant, and free of outsider manipulation.

So with that in mind, let's play a little game! I have five pictures here that were taken along my daily commute in the past couple of weeks; all of them are displays that were established long before Christmas, and all of them survived into at least the third week of January. So, if you feel like playing along at home, I want you to guess which of these five very public images was the first to be updated!

Are you ready? Then, let's have a look at our contestants!

#1 -- the promotional sign outside Pantages Playhouse:

#2 -- the festive facade of our noble City Hall, complete with lights in the trees:

#3 -- the bizarre, disquietingly creepy Santa Claus in the window of the Osborne Village Motor Hotel:

#4 -- The long-defaced bus shelter advertisment at the northwest corner of Main and McDermot:

And, #5 -- the now quite embarrassingly outdated billboard at Osborne at Cooper.

Answers in, everybody!

So which of these organizations has successfully controlled their communications strategies and cleaned up their public image for the new year?

Believe it or not, our first-place winner for this round is... the Osborne Village Motor Hotel! Yes, that strange and sort of frightening Santa was the first to go, removed from the front window around Friday the 15th and replaced with signs promoting their Readymix Thursdays at Ozzy's.

Second place goes to the Pantages Playhouse, who changed their 'PEACE' sign (not to be confused with a peace-sign) this past Tuesday night to reflect the venue's upcoming concert listings. This was a bit of a relief, as for all we knew that otherwise-empty sign was their way of announcing they were closing forever. Hey, stranger things have happened in this city!

And third place? As it turns out, third place goes to... nobody. As of just yesterday, all three of the remaining displays above remain intact. I'm not necessarily blaming HBC for their defaced billboard, even though it is going on its second full month of elaborate obfuscation by now, because the company isn't (and shouldn't be) directly responsible for the maintenance of ground-level transit facilities. But those other two, oh man.

I'm not going to lie: that "McNally Robinson Polo Park NOW OPEN!" sign makes me laugh a little and shake my head every time I go by it, given that McNally Robinson Polo Park Now Closed. And the idea that our main office of civic administration leaves the Christmas lights up at least a month after Christmas just strikes me as being quintessential Winnipeg, right there. One Great City!

Nevertheless -- Season's Greetings, readers! I'm off to the Joe Pug concert tonight, and then I'll see if I can't dig up some hilarious Manitoba artifacts for our Homecoming friends.


cherenkov said...

The Seasons Greetings sign has to go because it's specific to the holidays, but my Christmas lights stay up all winter. They're not so much Christmas lights as they are Winter Lights. We need some light and colour to brighten up the city in the dead of winter, so I encourage everybody to leave them up. Take down the inflatable Santa, but leave the lights.

Plus .. I just don't feel like freezing my fingers off taking them down in January.

Gavok said...

The next time that Santa thing is up at the motel, have a picture of yourself taken in front of it as you bend over to pick up a coin.