Nfld. & Labrador

Mitchelmore's tourism ad intro unnecessary, awkward says specialist

A communications specialist says Mitchelmore's introductory video to the province's latest tourism ad misses the mark.

'Why did the minister even need to do the video? The actual campaign ad is so brilliant,' asks Conway Fraser

Tourism Minister Christopher Mitchelmore introduces the province's latest tourism ad. (Christopher Mitchelmore/Facebook)

While Newfoundland and Labrador tourism ads are known for drawing oohs, ahhs, and plenty of awards, a video of Tourism Minister Christopher Mitchelmore introducing the province's latest campaign is drawing questions and sharp criticism on social media.

That's likely because Mitchelmore misses the mark on both the message and the medium, says Conway Fraser, a communications specialist with Fraser Torosay.

"This is a video that I would never let a client post online," Fraser said in an interview with CBC's Here & Now. "It just doesn't jive with the professionalism and the authenticity of the actual video that's being put out for promotional purposes."

Conway Fraser speaks to CBC's Here & Now via Skype. (CBC)

Mitchelmore's video, which was shared and later deleted from the Department of Tourism's Twitter account, shows him in an office, alone, in a chair, reading from notes on his lap about Newfoundlanders' and Labradorians' knack for storytelling.

He tells viewers to "tune in" to the province's website to check out the latest tourism campaign.

"Clearly, it's scripted," said Fraser. "It looks uncomfortable, awkward."

Extra message not needed

In contrast, the new tourism ad Mitchelmore introduces in his video is much like the province's other award-winning ads: slow, sweeping drone footage of waves crashing against jagged shores, roads winding into hillsides, and people steering dories, playing music, or looking out of windows at towns that seem to sit at the edge of the world.

It's been viewed nearly 200,000 times across government's social media channels since it was released last week, according to a statement from the Department of Tourism.

"Newfoundland and Labrador is known globally for its promotional videos," Fraser said. "They're stunning, they work. I've done work in the tourism sector, and governments that I've worked with have said, 'We want to do what Newfoundland and Labrador is doing.'"

"Why did the minister even need to do the video?" he said. "The actual campaign ad is so brilliant."

If the message of the campaign is about story, Mitchelmore could have told a story in his video, and he could have shot it in a bar or in a café — places where stories are often told, he said.

The video doesn't meet the expectations of social media either, he said.

"Social media is all about being authentic and being credible," said Fraser. "People almost expect a little bit of edginess, a little bit of roughness." 

A stiff reading in a leather high-back chair doesn't accomplish that, he said.

Video taken off Twitter

Many people on social media agree with Fraser, posting comments asking why the video was done, and what the provincial government was thinking when it was released.

The video was deleted from the tourism department's Twitter page.

In a statement emailed to CBC News, Mitchelmore wrote it was removed "now that the new ad is airing on national television."

Not the time to take communications risks

Ultimately, Fraser said, Mitchelmore's video was unnecessary and came at an inopportune time.

With an election coming up, Fraser said he'd advise even Mitchelmore, a politician who won with 89 per cent of the vote in the last election, to be more careful.

"This is not the time to be taking big risks," he said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Anthony Germain

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