GARFIELD;ATLANTA IS REALLY DREAMING IF IT THINKS THIS AD WILL WORK

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Only 12 shopping months till the 1996 Olympic Games, so the city of Atlanta is already touting itself as next year's summer-vacation destination of choice: "It's been called the brave and beautiful city," says a man, peering out at the impressive skyline, "the City Too Busy to Hate, the birthplace of a dream [outtake of Dr. M.L. King's `I Have a Dream' speech]. It's been home to a field of dreams [we see the Braves winning a decisive playoff game], and to Olympic dreams [footage of Atlanta winning the Olympics bid].

"What makes Atlanta the city of our dreams? It isn't one thing; it's everything. I'm Mayor Bill Campbell. We're Atlanta, and you're invited."

Then, as the city's new logo flutters onscreen, Mayor Campbell intones the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau's Olympic slogan, "Come celebrate our dream."

Yeah. Fat chance. Not to say, of course, that people won't visit in droves next summer. They will-for a whole variety of reasons:

1) If a family's choice is between Atlanta and, say, Yellowstone National Park, only one destination offers the opportunity for a live glimpse of Jimmy Carter or Bobbie Battista.

2) The Seoul Games were last time, so the chance of an Olympic venue collapsing due to shoddy construction is quite remote.

3) If you're traveling to any city southeast of Anchorage, you have to fly through Atlanta anyway. In the time it takes to get from Concourse A to Concourse B, you could pretty much take in the decathlon.

Furthermore, the summer Olympics has always been a huge draw, and certainly there's no reason to think attendance will dip now that it's being held at a major crossroads of the richest country in the world.

But, notwithstanding the emotional slogan and inspirational campaign from McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Atlanta, here's one reason that will motivate nobody to visit: To celebrate someone else's dream.

"Hon, whaddya say next summer we go to New York City, take in four Broadway shows, and check out the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and the Museum of Modern Art?"

"Are you nuts?! When we could help Atlanta celebrate its dream?!"

People simply don't think that way. Sure, the allusion to Dr. King is lovely and affecting, but if folks are going to plunk down $3,000-plus to get the family to the Olympics, they're not even remotely interested in how the transaction fulfills Atlanta's destiny.

What they care about is: What's in it for them? Attractions. Hospitality. Excitement. Value. Memories.

Employment consultants always counsel job seekers to not blab on about how the position would be rewarding and challenging and help advance the prospect's career, but rather about how the employer stands to gain.

By the same token, people do not make buying decisions based on how the sale may benefit the seller. So there's no reason for a marketer to couch its selling message in those terms.

Imagine Procter & Gamble telling the consumer to choose Crest over Colgate and "Celebrate Our Profitability." It just doesn't scan. Therefore, if we're not too late, we humbly suggest a substitute slogan for the City Too Self-Absorbed to Sell:

"Come to Atlanta. We're Holding the Olympics Here."

Ad Age Bulletin Board on Prodigy, or by Prodigy e-mail at EFPB35A.

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