November 19, 2019

Article at respectnews.ca

The miracle of marketing

At Respect, we do our best to present the good news stories. Many of you have said you appreciate that about us, which is nice.

Our friends at your community weeklies also bring you good news in every issue. But at the same time they have a responsibility to inform you of everything that’s going on, good or bad. Even bad news is good information, after all—it’s good to read everything. 

And besides, is an emphasis on good news really an advantage for a newspaper? Do people gravitate towards good things?

Take Drumheller, for instance. A nice little Alberta town, and it does millions of dollars worth of business in the tourist trade every year. But no one goes there to see the nice little town—they’re drawn to the land that surrounds it. And if you were to choose one word to describe that land, that word would be “bad.”

That’s bad land. You can’t grow anything on it. There’s no grass for livestock. You can’t even take a walk without tripping over the bones of some big old dead lizards. 

Bad. 

Heck, they even call it the Badlands. And that’s their selling point—people come from all over the world to visit Alberta’s Badlands, on purpose!

I wonder if the folks across the provincial line from us are feeling a bit cheated—the people in Goodsoil, Saskatchewan. Surely if tourists are flocking to see the land in Drumheller—which is admittedly bad—they will soon come to admire the good soil in Goodsoil.

But no. The hotels, restaurants, and night clubs in Goodsoil are still waiting for the big wave of visitors to arrive. And there’s no sign of them.

Why look at good soil when you can explore bad land?

People. Sigh.

But that attitude, that daring magnetism towards the seemingly unattractive, can work in our region’s favour. People who are drawn to bad land will eventually want a change of scenery, even if good soil isn’t their thing. I can hear their conversation:

“Well, we’ve seen the bad lands. What else do you want to do?”

“I could go for a swim. Look, here’s a place—Cold Lake!”

It’s all in the marketing.