Fellow Pasadenans, prepare to be ‘dug.’ According to today’s Pasadena Star News, the Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau has hired Hollywood-based PR firm The Cimarron Group to create a marketing campaign for our fair city.
“The city already has the Rose Bowl and the Tournament of Roses Parade, which of course are known worldwide” (says Mike Tenkle, Cimarron’s senior vice president of marketing), “But you’ve also got great shopping, amazing culture and great architecture. Pasadena has such a wealth of offerings that you really have to come up with an umbrella positioning that will include all of these elements.”
Tenkle said he couldn’t reveal his company’s exact marketing strategy for the city because the concept was still being finalized. “It takes a lot of time because you want to undersatnd the perception of visitors on both the business and customer side,” he said. “You have to dig in to find the truth of what the heart and soul of the city is. It’s really our job to package that and share it through images, things we talk about and how we talk about them.” (emphasis mine)
This really cracks me up for some reason. I love it that the ideas being bandied about are top secret and can’t be hinted at until they’ve matured. It feels like they’re going to look at us from the outside, throw our disparate elements into a blender, and create a frothy drink of Pasadena goodness that is more than the sum of our parts. Phrases like “umbrella positioning” and the quest to “package” the “heart and soul of the city” seem more make-believe than real.
Pasadena is a great place, but we have to be realistic about who we are and what is really going on here. So fine if the new marketing effort brings conferences to Pasadena. Those of us who live here would be wise to retain a healthy skepticism about what the marketers say about us. After all, we are the heart and soul of the city, and we defy conventional ‘packaging.’