ban the banners?

New banners are up – the old ones didn’t seem to help Taste of Japan, the latest business to want to get the heck out of BC to escape the BIA bungling and Rick’s renaming/tax levy.

I’m a big banner fan, as they can add a lot to a neighbourhood if they’re done right, as they are in many places in Ottawa and in other cities.
“Made here vs. made elsewhere” (shop locally)

But our Bells Corners BIA banners were so lame, sort of cheap Giant Tiger knockoffs, promoting the BIA itself instead of the community. All that was missing was Rick’s smug face to make the farce complete.

I haven’t seen the latest banners, but several informants tell me that they’re now up in all of their glory. I’ll reserve judgment until I see them. Maybe they’re better than the old ones – I know Alex was stung by the widespread criticism of the two previous banners, so maybe he’s learned his lesson? I’ve heard that the silly BIA logo has at least been downsized and is way down at the bottom.

Tony reports that there are three colours: orange, blue and green, with SHOP/DINE/PLAY, one per colour (the blue ones say “PLAY”).

I have some questions for Alex. I know he reads this blog every day, so maybe he’ll give us some answers pronto.

1) How much do they cost? Just give me a hint – more or less than your $50,000-a-year-salary? What percentage of the BIA’s $250,000-a-year (?) budget? More or less than the cost of running the BIA’s lavishly-furnished vanity office?

How much is the taxpayer on the hook for? I’m not talking about the heavy cost to the City of setting up and subsidizing the BIA itself, I’m talking about direct costs related to the installation of the banners – City trucks and workers, etc.

I know that you won’t share the financial details with me, but do the businesses themselves know how much they’re paying for your wacky ideas? Was it disclosed at the last secret BIA meeting? Or do only the inner circle of hardcore RC supporters get to know the details? It’s Rick’s Iron Law of Politics – don’t tell anyone anything unless there’s some political advantage to doing so.

2) Is it true that you gave the lucrative contract designing the BIA logo and banners to a personal friend who lives in Kanata, thereby doublecrossing a Bells Corners artist?

3) Is it cost-effective to change the banners so often? Wouldn’t one GOOD banner be better than four cheap ones?

4) What happens to the old faded and torn cheap banners? Straight to the landfill or does Jay decorate his apartment with them? Does Rick use them as sheets or beach towels?

5) Is there any evidence that one extra consumer dollar has been spent in our Bells Corners drive-thru heaven because of the banners? Or are you, as usual, flying by the seat of your pants? If there is any positive impact, does it just benefit the big box stores, or do Bells Corners Ma and Pa small businesses benefit too?

6) Since the banners are mostly limited to commercial areas on Lloyd Francis Blvd. and Moodie, why is there one in front of the councillor’s house on a residential street? Favouritism! I want one in front of my house too.

7) Is it true that the presence of the banners distracts motorists? I’ve heard that have been three accidents on the strip so far attributable to the banners – two motorists and one jaywalker who stopped mid-crossing to gawk.

8) Is it true that the visual clutter of the banners is a problem for first responders? We know how easily paramedics, police, firemen and ambulance drivers are confused when it comes to locating a place in Bells Corners.

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11 Responses to ban the banners?

  1. The banners this time are a lot better. The previous banners were promoting the BIA itself, which isn’t the point, nor was it a good idea to point to the horrible website. These are just normal banners with a small BIA logo which is a big improvement. They are still nothing to get excited about but they are a big improvement which at least shows they can learn.

    Who was the person in Kanata who designed them? I know the BIA hired Alex’s friend Liam Mooney to do some work but I assumed that was for the website. The banners look pretty much like a stock template design and I hope they didn’t pay for design when they could have gotten the same thing for free.

    As for the actual source of the banners – they’re installed by a private non-Bells Corners business, which means they are likely also buying the banners elsewhere. Unfortunate, since we have a business that make banners right here in Bells Corners.

    I have never counted them but I assume there are roughly 100, so depending on the quality, I would place it at $16,000 to $24,000 a year. Really good ones could go as high as $60,000 but it isn’t the quality that the BIA is getting, nor should it.

    Does Rick really have one in front of his house or was that a joke? When it comes to Rick and his tacky self-promoting I can actually believe he would have one installed.

    – If he did install one on his lawn, it would be like his election signs – GIGANTIC! Might as go first class when your corporate friends are footing the bill.

  2. Gravy says:

    “why is there one in front of the councillor’s house on a residential street?”

    To be fair, his says RICK! and your name is too long. Wait until he finds out the rest of them say something else.

    – Bells Corners, where you can Shop! Dine! Play! and Rick!

    Wonder if only four-letter slogans were considered. That would rule out Spend! Buy! and Consume!

    Businesses better hire on extra staff – once the drive-through commuters spot the new banners they’ll be swamping our local stores. We’ll have to build new parking lots to accommodate them all.

    • When you factor in that Alex’s spelling is atrocious, the four-letter slogans make sense. Anything above grade-school level and the chance of a spelling error is too great.

      All joking aside Shop! Dine! Play! is actually a common marketing ploy. Often there is a fourth word — Stay! I have seen it used countless times. The omission of Stay! is rather odd given Rick’s argument that BC is going to be a tourist destination.

      Play! normally refers to nightlife rather than sports but beyond that this is a very generic campaign. That is why I hope they didn’t pay for it. Paying for this idea would be another example of the BIA wasting member’s money because Alex Lewis lacks the experience to know basic and essential aspects of his job.

      – The baseball icon is puzzling – is it one of Rick’s or Alex’s favourite sports? I thought Rick was primarily a football fan (judging by how he teared about while reminiscing at Council about the good old days when he was a kid, munching a hotdog at Landsdowne while watching Jackson connect with Tucker), with hockey as his next favourite (judging by the Tie Domi sweater he wears at photo ops) followed by shuffleboard at Thorncliffe Place.

      My theory is that the American baseball symbol is a tip of the hat to all the ball players who, after 9 innings of mostly standing around on the ball diamonds near Bell Arena, pour into the bars afterwards and enrich Rick’s backers on the BIA board.

    • Gravy says:

      I actually don’t hate them. They’re upbeat! and generally reference the retail businesses, without mentioning the BIA at all, so I’m cool with them.

      The thing is, the design is lifted from a Vancouver firm called Design HQ for a BIA there called The Commercial Drive. “Our” banners are from their 2005 edition. Among the other ideas from DHQ was repurposing retired banners into reusable shopping bags Maybe we’ll see those around Bells Corners too.

      – I don’t hate them either – at least they’re no longer promoting the BIA itself or its sad website, so that’s progress.

      Perhaps I have a thing with authority, but I don’t need banners barking at me, telling me what to do as I stroll along the strip: Shop! Dine! Play! Stay! Jump! Bark!

      Maybe if they lost the exclamation mark it wouldn’t bug me – I don’t mind gentle suggestions but I don’t like commands.

      • Nice to see Alex is learning from Rick — find something you had nothing to do with and take credit for it. Except copyright infringement is really not appropriate activity for an agency that is supposed to be promoting local businesses.

        – You sure don’t want to give the lawyers something to chew on.

        It’d be nice to know what is truth and what is speculation. Alex?

        Maybe it’ll all come out at the next AGM, whenever that is.

      • margaret says:

        Interesting …. have these designs been ‘borrowed’ …. is it plagiarism?

        Even down to the solid line and dots underneath which is part of the Commercial Drive logo.

        The Vancouver ones had COLOUR! They were alive and vibrant.

        Interesting that the STAY! one is missing.

        – It’s not plagiarism but it could be copyright violation.

        As the host of this blog, I’m not going to whine about possible BIA copyright violations – it’d be like the pot calling the kettle black!

  3. margaret says:

    You’re having a good day … LMAO (laughed my ass off – Craig) when I got to the last 3 …

    Maybe we should all have a parade down the strip to see these new banners.

    Keep up the good work.

    – It’s not hard to come up with funny lines when Rick, Alex and Jay are feeding you.

    A parade is an excellent idea – I’ll ask Don Robertson if he wants to ride in the bike-taxi as the guest of honour.

  4. wanderer says:

    Hey, I want one in front of my house too!

    All your points/questions are well taken. One decent banner would have been a much better idea, but what the heck, it’s just taxpayers’ money, right?

    Your last question is especially hilarious – mustn’t confuse first responders! After all, that’s why the street name change was so blessedly important, right? I have yet to hear of anyone not finding the place they wanted in BC – no vocal complaints, no letters to the editors, nothing.

    – First responders, both frontline and upper echelon, must be ticked at being used by Rick as pawns in his political games.

  5. margaret says:

    The third attempt at getting something done right. Sadly, another miss.

    The idea might be OK, but they look washed out already.

    Where’s the the base arm? The slightest breeze and you don’t see what the message is. I had to stand and wait, my head at an angle, trying to read each one.

    And if you’re driving, it might cause a bit of a problem with your head craned through the window looking and trying to sort out the message before you hit the car in front whose driver is trying to do the same thing.

    Advertising – if the message is hard to understand, then you’ve failed.

    – I’m glad I’m not a small business owner having to pay for it.

  6. TonyL says:

    I still think they look hideous, at best a slight improvement over the first two sets, which we all know were bad.

    Still the same washed out material with bad brackets, cheap looking. The ones with the word “Play!
    should all be removed until Rick Chiarelli gives the kids their skateboard park!

    – That’s not happening any time soon, so they’ll have to cover up the letter L and make it “Pay!”

    • margaret says:

      PAY! I like that one, Tony!

      – Yup, a good one, almost as good as your “RICKshaw-relli” nickname for the bike-taxi.

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