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New Calderdale Tourism Campaign

From Andy G

Monday, 29 September 2014

One morning last week I was alerted by BBC Radio Leeds to the fact that Calderdale Council have just spent £40,000 of our money on the most lacklustre tourism campaign imaginable.

Now don't get me wrong - tourism in Calderdale urgently needs a boost and the council have been rightly criticised in the past for doing little or nothing to promote it - but on this occasion it seems that they have commissioned an advertising agency in Devon, of all places, to do the job. Whatever happened to "Totally Locally"?

The said agency has come up with the slogan "Pretty Gritty" and produced the most boring, gloomy, dark and depressing brochure that I have ever seen. OK, so we all know that Calderdale is very pretty and that the local geology is predominantly millstone grit, but for anyone who has never been here before that slogan is likely to be very off-putting, especially if they have watched "Happy Valley", which is now about to start its second series.

If our prospective holidaymakers then go on to read the contents of the brochure and look at the dark, gloomy photographs - most of which seem to have been taken on cloudy, wet days - they are almost certain to go somewhere else for their holidays (Devon perhaps?).

It's almost as if the agency are deliberately trying to steer people away from visiting Calderdale and the council's officials seem to have fallen for it hook, line and sinker! Does anyone check these things before they are published?

From Mark Humphreys

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

There is no such thing.

It looks like a shameful thing with no thought for honest businesses or any acknowledgement of the efforts made to attract visitors to the area.

The Calderdale website itself is not welcoming; the tourism part of it looks forward to the visit of the Tour de France next year.

If I were an elected member of the Council - or indeed operating a tourism business in Calderdale - I'd be blooming furious at the efforts of I'm the people concerned. This is not a good Use of Resources. Calderdale seem to be concerned with money and the status of senior officers and cabinet members only.

I worked for Calderdale for many years, and championed that authority in the face of growing local scepticism. I'm sorry now that I did.

Come on Calderdale; get a grip. Tell us why your website is so out of date. Tell us why your senior officers are so out of touch. Tell us why your ambitions for tourism are so very, very low.

From Kez Armitage

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

I have to agree totally with Andy G. I don't think it's £40,000 well spent.

And where was the consultation? Why place the business with 'Heavenly', a London and multinational based firm? Don't we have enough talent in the valley itself? Why not use local people to come up with a way to promote the area? Perhaps we're just too 'gritty' to appreciate the subtleties of marketing - well at least that's what Calderdale must think. And who actually made the decision?

'Pretty gritty' is toe-curlingly awful. 'Pretty' is twee, and chocolate-boxy, and bears no relationship to the spectacular landscape in which we live. 'Gritty' is supposed to sum up the tough Yorkshire character. Well, that may have been true eighty years ago, but we're far more cosmopolitan now. Perhaps Calderdale Council hasn't noticed.

Even worse, the suffix 'itty' can have many prefixes, some of which are, shall we say, a bit derogatory. The 'pretty gritty' slogan lends itself to all sorts of derision and innuendo. Are the Council so naive as not to recognise this?

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

I've just got hold of the Calderdale Visitor Guide, produced as part of the Pretty Gritty branding campaign. At least it's been produced by a relatively local firm (they call themselves Leeds but their address is Bradford).

I actually like Pretty Gritty as a slogan but it's thrown away in tiny type on the front cover and doesn't appear again. The guide lacks any attempt at sensible organisation of information for visitors who don't know Calderdale from a hole in the ground, and there's a pretty crappy misspelling - our old friend accomodation - on page three. Welcome to semi-literate Calderdale.

I agree about the Pretty Gritty photography, which is dire and invites visitors to come to gloomy Calderdale and get rained on.
If the visitor guide is itself any guide, the thinking behind the whole campaign seems to be, 'Let's go for the defiant loser look'.

Out of professional interest I downloaded the Pretty Gritty campaign brand guidelines (52MB and 39 pages - way too large) and it's just hectoring, glossy drivel. A big fat fail, designed solely to impress idiots. The whole campaign will perish from indifference before Christmas. And for this Calderdale has paid £40,000 of our money?

From Tim M

Thursday, 2 October 2014

This is good - but let's not forget its optional. No one (not even the Branding Police) is going to force anyone to use it. I think that the council should be applauded for (belatedly) addressing its lacklustre tourism strategy.

We are different to the Dales etc. but we've really only scratched the surface in terms of attracting visitors and attracting people for longer stays. And it's not just about tourism - but investment across the board. selling this rather forgotten corner of Yorkshire to people who can bring new jobs, propserity etc. OK, so we're alright in HB (can we retire the 4th funkiest town label though, yawn?) but Tod, Halifax, Brighouse etc. all have far more potential to be put on the map.

Seems like a pretty comprehensive job too for £40K.