See invoices relating to Vancouver "Talk Green to Us" advertisement
Getting citizens of all stripes to understand and embrace their part in making cities healthier, and reducing our impact upon the planet is not only a laudable goal, it's hard work. It certainly is not a marketing plan with feel-good phrases that suggest that we're the greenest anything.
CityCaucus.com FOI'd some of the costs related to a Vision Vancouver 'greenest city' marketing scheme in order to let our readers know what money is being spent. There is also an interesting connection to Gregor Robertson's key financial and political supporter Joel Solomon. The City of Vancouver ran ads on the webzine of Solomon's sister Linda, for which she was paid just under $2000.
A glossy video campaign posted to YouTube for the so-called Talk Green to Us (TGTU) campaign cost $15,000. To date the video has been viewed about 2600 times, meaning on average taxpayers paid twenty-five cents per view.
The advertising campaign concept and website in support of TGTU cost another $50,000. We know that ads have run in a variety of papers and online, but do not have a total cost for these at this time. Vision will be quick to point out that Sam Sullivan's 2-year EcoDensity policy development process cost more, but in the end council unanimously supported the City's plan to use built form as a way to create livable cities and reduce our carbon footprint.
During his mysterious visit to New York last April Gregor Robertson was invited to a panel on cities and the environment. The Mayor representing Vancouver in front of a group of students and academics argued that people don't "get" carbon because they can't see it. Therefore, he argued, that symbols were important.
With this admission we begin to see why Robertson has led the charge on making saving the planet into a marketing campaign. And you can "see" city hall garden plots, chicken coups and beehives.
It could be argued that Sam Sullivan, who carried around a sheet that compared Vancouver's carbon footprint to other world cities, paid the ultimate political price for making the reduction of greenhouse gases (and EcoDensity) a political priority. By comparison Robertson spends most of his time preaching to the converted.
Tonight Hizzoner will lead a panel of green advocates at a green party paid for out of Vancouver's sustainability fund, and everyone is invited. It starts at Woodward's tonight at 7pm. This "slam" is aimed at young and environmentally-conscious folks who will "pitch" their ideas for reducing Vancouver's carbon footprint. It's all a part of an advertising blitz to promote TGTU, which you may or may not have seen.
TGTU is not something aimed at people who might benefit from some environmental knowledge. It's really aimed at people who already cycle, use transit or eat local. To that end the taxpayer dosh poured into this marketing scheme seems wasteful.
Ultimately, the biggest beneficiary of this costly green marketing blitz is one person – Gregor Robertson.
You could argue that Vision Vancouver should be paying for this worshiping at the altar of Gregor the Green. However, compared to Robertson's office renovations ($260,000), his personal marketing campaign by FD Element ($114,500), the Hornby Bike Lane ($3,200,000), the study to tear down the Georgia Viaduct ($300,000) and dozens of other pet projects done during tough economic times – well, it's chicken feed.
- post by Mike