Not Toronto speculation premature


The above graphic was produced by the CKReview and is used to show what an ad for Not Toronto might look like. It is not associated with Promote CK or the municipailty.

The above graphic was produced by the CKReview. It is not associated with Promote CK or the municipality. Image: CKReview.

After a local newspaper ran a story about a proposed campaign called Not Toronto, only rumours have existed about the project. Mayor Randy Hope told the CKReview he agreed to be part of the campaign and noted it was not a municipal government initiative.

“We have been researching possible marketing strategies to attract new residents to Chatham‐Kent, but, to date, no detailed publicity campaign has been approved or funded by our organization,” said Kevin Owen, a board member for Promote Chatham‐Kent, a non-profit corporation developed by local volunteers, formed two years ago. Mr. Owen was reacting to speculation in the news media and on the internet about a “Not Toronto” promotional campaign that some citizens felt would be unfairly negative about Toronto while not attracting residents to Chatham‐Kent. “We were very surprised when so many residents showed such passion for the idea. Our committee would love to have these people join forces with us, in order to fine tune the actual message and see this project succeed.”

Online observers have largely panned the plan, suggesting CK needs jobs rather than new residents. Critics of the plan argue that a negative campaign about Toronto would make more enemies than friends. However Owen says no firm plans have been made.

“There was a draft proposal for a campaign that was to come before our board for our consideration,” added Owen, “but we never got the chance to make any decision before the news media got involved and the speculation began. Frankly, all this premature speculation has been a real setback to what should have been an informed, productive discussion of new ideas.”

“Is part of our audience in the Toronto area? Sure it is, especially young entrepreneurs looking for affordable housing and a relaxed family lifestyle. How do we reach them? Would some positive publicity help? Maybe have some fun with it? A friendly rivalry? How exactly could it be done? That was the discussion we were supposed to have. Nobody’s looking to be negative or slam Toronto here. We want to point out that Chatham‐Kent offers an alternative to city life ‐ family‐friendly communities and a great location for starting a business.”

Part of the proposal up for discussion was the enlisting of help from Chatham‐Kent’s mayor, Randy Hope, but Promote CK would need to finalize and approve a plan before it could be presented to the mayor’s office for consideration. Promote CK was one of the first community groups to take up use, in 2012, of the Chatham‐Kent community brand, photos and videos, and it received some funding to assist with development of a website and associated promotion of Chatham‐Kent while also conducting its own marketing.

Community groups and businesses using the CK community brand voluntarily promote Chatham‐Kent and remain independent of the municipality in their marketing strategies.