Hamilton video extols the virtues of going Toronto-free

New video from Economic Development department promotes living and working here as the better way.
Wake Up From Your Commuting Nightmare thumbnail (Courtesy of City of Hamilton)

Trying to appeal to the tired commuter, Hamilton’s Economic Development office has commissioned a short animated video as a marketing tool to encourage businesses to invest in Hamilton.

The "Wake Up From Your Commuting Nightmare" video, which runs about two minutes, was designed to promote living and working in Hamilton as a viable alternative to Toronto and neighbouring cities

It shows a 1950s style businessman on his daily grind — scrambling to get ready for work, being stuck in traffic, and then stuck again on the way back home. He appears to have an epiphany at the end when the sky clears around him and he walks merrily into Hamilton’s Lister Block.

"We’re trying to show [commuters] the price is right here," said Mike Marini, the marketing coordinator for the economic development office.

About 30,000 Hamilton residents leave the city every day and less than 10,000 come in, he said. "There’s definitely a deficit." The animated video is part of an "aggressive" marketing campaign designed by the office with a mandate to encourage people to "invest in Hamilton."

The video’s secondary goal was to highlight the local talent that exists in Hamilton, said Jacqueline Norton, the economic development office’s consultant in charge of creative industries. "Hamilton does have these creative folks right here in the city."

The score was written by Nathan Fleet, a Hamilton filmmaker and composer, who directs the Hamilton Film Festival. His music company, Blue Pick Media, started this year.

"They’re actually walking the walk," Marini said. "We didn’t shop this out to Toronto to make this video, it’s a local guy in Hamilton."

Chuck Gammage Animation on James Street North designed and produced the cartoon.

The studio relocated to Hamilton from Toronto in June 2011. Owner, Chuck Gammage, lives in Paris, ON. He wasn’t available for comment.

A number of his staff do live in Hamilton, however, while others still commute from around the region. Shane Doyle, an animator at CGA is grateful his boss relocated. He lives in Mount Hope.

"I’ve got a 20-minute drive to work instead of two hours," he said smiling. "I used to be full of rage, thinking ‘what am I doing on this highway?’" He uses the extra hours to spend time with his wife or out golfing, he said.

Creative industries are the fastest growing business sector in Hamilton’s downtown, according to the economic development office. The video is just one way of trying to highlight that.

"We’ve got a great story to tell," Marini said. "We’re proud of the investments here and I think Toronto’s starting to see that."