Today: Is Vancouver hosting an athletic event?

 > The Situation:

I’m driving into Vancouver. I’m looking straight ahead. I’m trying not to see the “Welcome to Vancouver” sign—just over there to my right, on Grandview Highway. I’m almost past it. I’m going to pass it without looking this time. No. Darn. I couldn’t do it.

 > The Idea:
The idea is understating what we’re up to in our businesses—to the point of near lunacy. What am I on about? I’m on about the low-key message at the bottom of those “Welcome to Vancouver” signs. They alert visitors and residents—who have super eyesight—to the fact that there is some sort of international athletic event coming to Vancouver. Want to know more? Here, I’ll stop the car and we’ll walk over and take a closer look. Uh huh. Now we can read the message, which states: “Host City – 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.” Wow. The Olympics. Coming to our city. Who knew?

 > The Risk:

If a host city—or business—doesn’t tell the world—boldly and enthusiastically—about events they are hosting, then we risk spending a lot of time, effort and money, and not getting the desired results. Vancouver faces another danger. If it doesn’t trumpet the positive aspects of the event—in their signage and in every other kind of promotion—they leave everything to those who are having a field day (no pun intended?) trashing city leaders and games organizers for all the cost over-runs and headaches that litter the dark side of the games landscape.

 > The Reward:

After all the hard work of preparing for the games—the headaches, heartaches, setbacks and injuries (no, not among the athletes, among the taxpayers), the games will be a great success, I’m sure—and will showcase our city to the world—much as Expo did back in 1987. All good.

 > The Call to Action:

If you’re a Canadian reading this, then resolve not to be so darn (super small “c” conservative) Canadian. If you’ve got something going on—a sale, a grand opening, a product launch, a reception—get the word out there. Cover your vehicles with signs. Fly balloons from the cartop and rooftop. Tell everyone on Facebook. And don’t use small, soft grey letters on a light blue background. C’mon Vancouver.

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