Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Positively Cleveland vs. Negatively Cleveland: a hastily made contest

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

"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.


Leigh at Jerry Bruno Productions said...

Heck, I moved here from Chicago and I really dig it. If I cared to edit together some of the times I've had since moving to Cleveland, it would include scenes like these:

Rocking out to The Eagles at the Q while Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz danced a few feet away from me.

The Sandman chase scene from SpiderMan 3.

Driving down 77 and passing MVP LeBron James on his way home.

Hanging out with Drew Carey and Dom Irrera at the Hard Rock.

Witnessing Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl emerge from his tour bus at Time Warner Cable Amphitheater, taking a deep breath while viewing the skyline and saying "Ahhh, home."

Hanging out at the A Christmas Story house.

Visiting the Rock Hall and running into David Archuletta.I'm sure I could think of plenty more. Cleveland has everything we need and then some.

Shannon said...

Native Clevelander here -- they should cut Positively Cleveland's funding. (Just where are they getting the money to pay for the prize package, anyway?)

It's clear they don't know how to form an original thought, let alone warrant funding from our already too-high taxes.

I own a business in Cleveland. Ask me how the Med Mart tax hike and other short sighted policies have hurt my business and many others. Don't waste time trying to respond to actually creative people like Mike Polk, because they'll get the better of you every time.

If "Positively Cleveland" wants to actually do something POSITIVE, they'll figure out a way to market our city without ripping someone else off. Or they'll disband and put whatever insane budget they've got into the schools and other things that would help make Cleveland less of a laughingstock.

This reminds me of the time they responded to the Cleveland-themed art show at Asterix Gallery in Tremont by dropping off a bunch of CLE+ stickers. Oy.

alexa @clevelandsaplum said...

this is an awesome idea on positively cleveland's side of things, i'm totally going to enter.

Samantha Fryberger said...

Just wanted you to know Positively Cleveland members volunteered to donate the prizes that appear in the prize packages.

Anonymous said...

AH! There's taht chip... Shannon's got one!

Anonymous said...

Nonsense. Shannon is right. They are extremely overpaid and for what?

Put that money into schools and libraries, and not into an inane attempt to rip Mike Polk off.

Whatever daft "positive" spin you try to put on it, the city is still shit, and you people sucking up so much money out of it definitely isn't helping.