What I find funny.
Is the Adirondacks really a brand? When a salesguy in charge of Tourism Marketing calls me from Michigan and wants Long Lake to advertise in its USA Today National Travel Parks Magazine and I explain the size of my town and the size of my budget he’s still insistent on selling me an ad for my city. So I stop him an say “David, I’m not a city”
Then I break down that I’m in the Adirondacks and he really needs to be focusing on bigger money, and that my teeny budget can only be stretched so far, he interrupts and says : “AdderDax?” “What’s that, how do you spell that?”
Umm… So I respond by saying, well The Adirondacks is 6.1 million acres of public and private land in Upstate New York that equals the size of Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Glacier,and Great Smoky Mountains combined. Silence on the other end. Pause pause pause, clicking, I think he’s googling. He thinks I’m making it up, I can tell by the sound of his voice. “Bigger than the Grand Canyon?”
So I get a little frustrated when I’m in meetings and the conversation leads to “re-branding” the Adirondacks. I have a suggestion, why don’t we actually brand the Adirondacks? Why don’t we actually spend money and educate people that the Adirondacks even exist? Who’s in charge of writing those social studies textbooks in Texas? Anyone have a name?
I lived in Cranford, NJ and Manhattan for over 20 years and let me tell you, most of my neighbors and co-workers had never ever heard of the Adirondacks and it was less than five hours away. “There’s nothing north of Westchester County” “Upstate New York? You mean Buffalo?” “We didn’t even know this place was there, we love Vermont.” “You guys have lakes, rivers and mountains and bears, birds, fish and bobcats and loons and owls?” Ummmm.. yeah and we also have places to sleep including hotels, motels, campgrounds and lean-tos and lots of our access to this great wild land is free.
So I’m amused. I’ll admit it. I’m amused. The governor is shaking trees, scrambling his warriors and his people together to get everyone to find a plan to get tourists to the Adirondacks. Nevermind that he wants all this tourism money to come into the Adirondacks yet the state is cutting funding for our rural schools, so once he gets all these tourists here there won’t be any businesses open because all the young folks working them had to leave so their children could get an education. But I digress…
So I don’t really know who’s in charge of the Adirondacks. Is there one bureau for this? The Adirondack Bureau of Adderdacks Advertising? We have seven regions, let’s see, the coast, the wild, the lakes, the seaway, Tug Hill, Lake George and Lake Placid. Is that everything? How are people supposed to figure out what the heck they want to do?
I know I’ve sat on committees to revitalize, committees to get grant money, committees to talk about committees, and usually when sitting on these committees, they never include the entire area of the Adirondacks. The Adirondacks is sliced, diced and broken up when it comes to money, advertising and funding, but lumped together as one when it’s failing.
I think we’re having an identity crisis… or just a crisis.
So as I steer my salesman to bigger fish, yes if you work in one of those seven regions Dave might be calling you, but he’s doing his own research because I didn’t even know who to tell him to call. While everyone struggles to figure out where to put the most effective ads, how to reach the most people, just remember we do have a lot of people living within a days drive of this magnificent place I’m lucky enough to call home, but there’s plenty of people out there that have never even heard of us.
So let me know when the Adirondacks gets branded. I can’t wait.