Have you seen these "Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Videos" by local comedian Mike Polk? They're huge YouTube hits, and they've been flying across the Net for a couple of weeks now. Funny stuff. (If you're offended when comedians drop F-bombs, don't watch the first one.)
There's just one problem with the videos. A former intern for the magazine writes from Ohio University: "All of my roommates are from out of state and have told me that this has solidified their gut feelings to never come to Cleveland, ever."
So yesterday, while I was talking with staffers at Positively Cleveland, our ever-optimistic convention and visitors bureau, I asked what they thought of Polk's work.
"Clevelanders, that’s our sense of humor," says Positively Cleveland's communications director, Samantha Fryberger — "to poke fun at ourselves and have sort of a chip on our shoulder: ‘Why would anybody want to come here?'"
However, "The thing that frustrates us slightly is that outsiders, outside of this region, they’re only seeing the negative, funny part that we’re portraying."
So Positively Cleveland is launching a contest, online at positivelycleveland.com/hastilymade.
"We are going to ask Clevelanders to make a video that’s no more than two minutes long, spend no more than $2, and do it in no more than two weeks," Fryberger says -- "to use their cell phones, flip video cameras, and photography to make a fun, quirky, but slightly more positive tourism video for the region." The contest will run May 13 to 27, though the earlier a video gets posted, the more time it has to catch on online. Makers of the best videos will get prize packages that include hotel suites, dinners at restaurants, Beachland Ballroom tickets, and Indians tickets near home plate.
Positively Cleveland has been under a lot of stress lately, not sure if some of its funding, which comes from a tax on hotel stays, will be diverted to the Medical Mart. (See the magazine's politics blog, here and here.) "If our budget is cut, this could be the only way we can get our message out!" Fryberger joked.