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Buffalo. For Real.

We all know how powerful a quality branding campaign can be for our city. Remember Talking Proud? I’m not saying that that was the best marketing campaign for our city, but then again I still remember it to this day. I was very young when that campaign was launched – I remember clearly all of those people marching down the steps of City Hall singing that darn jingle that still echoes in my brain. That branding campaign is now outdated and obsolete… thankfully.

Today, the CVB (Visit Buffalo Niagara) launched a new branding campaign for Buffalo meant to reignite a new sense of hometown pride that will be delivered to the masses, much the way Detroit did during the Super Bowl. Evoking powerful images in an attempt to pull at the heartstrings of America, with a voice-over by Saul Elkin. The message? Buffalo. For Real. This is the joint branding initiative that has been handed down with a seal of approval from a series of advertising firms, economic agencies, politicians, culturals, media partners, sports teams and foundations. The purpose of the new ‘destination brand identity’ is to bolster civic pride and tourism utilizing a number of different media vehicles. Think of ‘This Place Matters‘ taken to the next level and delivered to a national audience. Here’s a video that was released today to coincide with the campaign.

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  • EllicottNick

    This is a great video — it made me want to live in Buffalo that was in the video, instead of the one I actually live in.

  • Fuzzy’s New Hinwood

    It sucks. I’m for realzz, yo!

  • EllicottNick

    Fo sho, playa.

  • JM

    For real?
    I’m a little disappointed, this could have been so much better.
    It reminded me of a Ken Burns documentary, pan, pan, pull, pan pan, push. Who are they targeting? trying to bring snowbirds back? I don’t mean to be overly critical but this seems like a weak copy of the Detroit campaign. Buffalo is and can be much more upbeat, this really depressed me if anything.

  • ForgottenBuffaloTours

    The imagery is wonderful and makes me proud to be a Buffalonian…but a person watching this video who not familiar with Buffalo would think that the City ends at Michigan Ave to the East and the Buffalo River to the South. There is a REAL Buffalo outside of the Elmwood Village & the waterfront in neighborhoods like Black Rock, Polonia, Kaisertown, South Buffalo, Lovejoy, etc.

  • Styler

    I like the branding idea. However, there was an awful lot of ‘rust-belt’ in the first 20 seconds. If I already have negative view of Buffalo, this doesn’t make me want to keep watching. Who will be watching this loong advertisement, anyway? This video needs more smiles, sports and vibrant imagery.
    I like the message, though. It’s a good start.

  • informedone

    Why did they have Santa Claus do the narration? Trying to sell Geritol to the masses or something?
    Awesome views of the City but still playing to the remnants of yesteryear’s past..which is great but how about highlighting the emergence of the New Economy and Innovation underway?
    “You might be lucky and get snowed in?” Come on, we are way beyond that aren’t we. We are a City alive with people and functions and so much more than architectural icons of eras gone by (which I do love the architecture but).

  • Mr. Pelham

    Is that Saul Alkin? Great voice.
    It’s a good video, gives us a good hometown feel and that “All American City” look. Nice job.

  • Travelrrr

    Beautiful images? Sure. We saw those in “This Place Matters”. What is “real” about Buffalo is that it is a city that is re-inventing itself out of necessity, and it is desirable to new urbanists who seek to be part of turning a place around (as well as to many people who left the city).
    Take a camera and follow the folks at PUSH or UrbanRoots or ReUse or Sweetness_7 or the gallery movement on Amherst and you can capture the authentic initiatives taking place around Buffalo. This is the image we want to project: renaissance, collaboration, pioneering movements, artistic, etc. Throw in some images of our iconic and fabulous architecture and we have a winner.

  • DeanerPPX

    At least they showed people enjoying the city for what it has and working to make it even better. But, I guess if it was about people knocking themselves down and complaining bitterly that it’s not as good as other places, it would have turned into a two-hour documentary.

  • PaulBuffalo

    If buildings like Riverside Mens Shop continue to be demolished, there will be a lot less of the real Buffalo standing.

  • blohard

    Is there nothing you people won’t hate on?

  • cheektowagaman

    The reason throngs of people and tons of businesses left Buffalo is because the politicians (Democratic Party) taxed everyone and every business to death. Businesses won’t go to Buffalo because of taxes. If Buffalo lowered taxes, people and businesses would come back. That is the bottom line!!!

  • Urban Cowboy

    I don’t understand why the city doesn’t start a program which encourages people to move back into the city, like a tax credit per person/per house hold and you receive it for 5 years. Get aggressive. Use 80 million dollar “rainy day fund” as the money to cover these expenses. Then market it in every upstate city, southern ont, and in north PA and Ohio.

  • KangDangaLang

    If you made 50k a year and had managed to save 5k away, would you go out and spend that 5k? No you wouldn’t you would hold onto it. Even if Buffalo spent 10 million of the rainy day fund it would be too much.

  • BigBrother87

    Then move somewhere else and when you get there…you can go complain about whatever is wrong there. Then move somewhere else, and complain about what’s wrong there. Rinse, repeat..

  • fredrico

    Yes – Buffalo has many problems but — Buffalo has some of the nicest and most sincere people I have met (and I have traveled some). It is a prety city in many areas and a nice blend of being not too small and not too big. I think it is a great place to live.
    I’m not that crazy about the slogan though, “Buffalo for Real”?

  • Urban Cowboy

    What are they saving it for? Rochester is massively in debt, most cities and states are… why don’t we use the money we have saved to get a head start on all these places. If not a tax credit then a down payment on infrastructure(look at detroit and its new public transport system) or dare I say incentive to bring a business here. As an example I was reading that Caterpillar machinery was looking to move out of its current location because the state/wasn’t going to assist in any way. Would corporate welfare really be frowned upon if it meant bringing 1500 jobs to Buffalo in five years?

  • KangDangaLang

    “Buffalo For Real”, brought to you by a blonde surfer girl from Southern California.

  • grad94


  • SadLlama

    Love the concept, HATE the tag line. The CVB should have reached out to the community (in the form of a contest perhaps) since it seems the general public can come up with better idea’s then hired “professionals”.
    Also I’ll have to agree with the previous posters, this video certainly appeals to an older crowd but any younger person is going to lose interest in the first 10 seconds. Create a separate video that appeals to the younger generation since ultimately thats the demographic you want moving into the city. Include shots of Chippewa, skiing at Holiday Valley, non professional sporting events, and something that would appeal to the gay community (yes, really).

  • Rand503

    I remember that Talking Proud ad. A friend heard it on the radio and thought that they were saying, “Buffalo’s got the spirit, *&$%ing proud! $%&#ing proud!”
    I think that’s much better.

  • Chris

    Some should have shown this to the NY Times writer, the governor, and the downstate pols that think UB 2020 is a joke and WNY is asking for 5 billion in enomic development aid-
    I know it isn’t the best place to post this but I didn’t see anyone share this article yet…

  • toomystic

    The logo looks very 90’s but maybe that is the look they were going for and the video is well done but as someone else pointed out definitely targeting an older audience.

  • Buffalo’s Billy Sheehan

    I know some other bigger city already has this moniker, but I’ve always thought this slogan was more deserving for Buffalo …..”if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”…..because man it ain’t easy getting anything done in this town…

  • BuffaloQPublic

    The new branding does fall short. It’s somewhat in a gray area. Doesn’t seem to be a statement to draw in people.
    Something like Buffalo: Treasures and Pleasures might have been more pinpointing.
    Stop! No snides on pleasures, please.

  • townline

    I love that last line. We don’t promote the snow enough!

  • grad94

    they did. i remember donn esmonde covering it in his column maybe a year ago or so.

  • Fuzzy’s New Hinwood

    I thought you were referring to the old “Pleasures and Pastimes” stores. I’ve had a real hard time obtaining my latch hook rug supplies ever since they went under.

  • jjcefa
    Can Buffalo be without HSBC

  • RoamingBuff

    I agree that the tag line “For Real” is pretty lame.. Very proud that they featured the ice maze and the Powder Keg Festival at the end.. But what about shots of all our amazing summer festivals?? What about more on Lake Erie and proximity to Canada?? They whole video seemed to focus on architecture, which is amazing in Buffalo, but there are many more things for people to do in Buffalo than look at buildings.. Dissappointed!! For Real!!

  • jjcefa

    great article though…on point and real opinions on the actual idea….For an outsider looking in it does look sad

  • brownteeth

    I kept waiting for a deep thought by Jack Handy but nothing? It’s a well made video with a great message but the old guy took forever to make the point, by then I wanted to fall asleep.

  • Urban Cowboy

    It is a good article and it does some up outsiders views not only on UB2020 but also on Buffalo. Cuomo’s offer for UB to get an equal share of 140 million with three other campuses was next-to mocking UB and Buffalo.
    With that said Tripathi’s rebuttal by announcing a plan a few day’s after was equally as savvy. Notice he doesn’t say that the 35 million is for the medical school but for the “down payment.” In doing so shoving Cuomo’s offer down his throat, because obviously Cuomo didn’t want 35 to mean 350 million.
    This election/post-election has taught me one lesson,”Next time an Upstater runs for NYS governor, I don’t care what party, race, gender, what emails he sent, or even if he has killed someone, I will always vote for the Upstater because DOWNSTATE thinks everything above Westchester is a joke.

  • Perry

    No one has picked up on this…but I’m glad they are focusing on the name “Buffalo” instead of “Buffalo Niagara.” Sure, Niagara is the sexy name that gets people to our region – and yes, people across the country have no idea only 16 miles separates the city and the fall. But it’s nice to see Buffalo stand on its own two feet when promoting our region. Nice video too!

  • Buffalo’s Billy Sheehan

    rumor has it that James Earl Jones’s agent was contacted for the narration role….they apparently declined due to prior committments already scheduled..too bad…would have given Buffalo a little star power

  • grad94

    what if you took the same footage and recorded different narration for different audiences with different voice actors? saul elkin has a marvelous voice, no doubt about it. but what if ani difranco did a track?

  • Martha Red

    Aw, don’t diss on the narrarator (Saul Elkin)!
    This is a really helpful video if you work in higher education student recruitment marketing (which I do). But I wish it was a little more appealing to youngwe people. Maybe Robby or Johnny Goo Goo or Ani DiFranco can narrate one for a younger, hipper audience.

  • JM

    I don’t think it would have mattered, that’s why i was referring to the editing being like Ken Burn’s, it’s the pacing. I liked the video in general but my gripe is there is so much more Buffalo that wasn’t shown and imo should be.
    I’d prefer they just make 3 different ‘styles of videos and use each one where it is suited. Art, History and that are great and no doubt should be shown but as someone under 40, this was boring and looked like any midwest city, which it is not.
    I would have preferred a build up pacing like the Detroit ads, they actually used the music and voiceover to build up to something not putter out..snowed in? /sigh

  • brownteeth

    If it were 1995, how about some relevant local celebs?

  • JM

    worked for Portland 🙂

  • DeanerPPX

    I’d vote Christine Baranski to narrate one focusing on the arts & entertainment in the area. Distinctive voice (that can be both fun and serious) and she still takes pride in being from WNY.
    I kinda liked this video, but it tried to do too much in four minutes, and ended up missing out on a lot.
    It might have been more effective as four or five one-minute pieces that each catered to a separate demographic and topic. Families: activities and urban amenities; young adults: vibrancy and the arts; mature individuals: history and architecture; businesses: economy, redevelopment and workforce; Tourists: natural and historical draws.
    There’s too much that makes this place special, so the list of topics is endless. Shorter pieces tend to have more bang for the low-attention-span folks, and can be serialized for those who want to find out more.

  • rb09

    Great videography !
    The rest… YAWN!

  • Phyr

    Unfortunately it will still take a few years to see any pay out for this type of thing. Also with all the current and proposed projects going on (Statler, the parks, Buffalo train terminal, ect) this are going to get lost in the mix.

  • Christa Glennie Seychew

    I think the Palladium Boots/Detroit series is a better example of what could be done to showcase the Buffalo I know and love. Everything that is accomplished here is done on a grassroots level by people undeterred by the lack of government support or the grousing public. Right now, Buffalo’s most exciting developments are our emerging neighborhoods, DIY art and music scene, and rapidly evolving food culture. Architecture and history have a place, and they have added greatly to the quality of life here, but they aren’t all that Buffalo has to offer. Just my two cents.

  • brownteeth

    Portlandia could easily be called “Elmwooden” and it wouldn’t be any different 🙂

  • brownteeth

    Jarod Miller from Hamburg is on the rise on national TV with his animal shows and TV appearances. He would be a good relevant personality to utilize.

  • Styler

    The production quality of this video is good. But. . .
    1. It’s not ‘cool’. ‘Cool’ (or should I say, ‘Hot’) is more important than ever.
    2. This video actually depicts Binghamton or (insert any other upstate city).
    3. I love Buffalo, but I know absolutely zero people who are into ‘cultural tourism’. Buffalo needs an image change – this video will do nothing to change the national preconception…unless you are over age 50.

  • grad94

    about #3: of course you know people who are into cultural tourism; they just didn’t realize it had a name. it’s a catch-all for those who gravitate towards walking tours, museums, galleries, historic sites, performing arts of any kind, vintage inns & b&bs, etc., when they travel.
    as opposed to those who travel for nature or sporting events. most people who take vacations in big cities are probably doing cultural tourism, since cities don’t generally offer much wilderness.

  • JM

    After doing some research, I’m somewhat changing my opinion, and bring something interesting.
    from what I gathered John Paget is the guy who produced this and deserves many props. The production is top notch. The gripe I had was with the pacing/direction and I can understand where they are going with it and can appreciate it in that context.
    With that said I was messing around and combined the video with a more upbeat Buffalo song

  • GinghamQuaker

    AMEN Cowboy

  • Buffalo All Star

    oOO GOd.. i have to say I’ve never heard the talking proud buffalo song..Its horrible!!
    I do love the “real” concept and the comment about “sameness” and not being able to find America along the thruway. Absolutely brillant and soo true.
    To the promotions though…Buffalo needs a tourism/image/environment related make over and I feel these 2 promotion videos did a pretty good job highlighting whats being done to change the “Buffalo Psyche”.
    No, this is not a video for young “hot”, trendy people. Remember, they have NO money and overall, wouldn’t be interested in the majority of what the city/area have to offer. The tourism board is aiming towards people (established well off people) who would VACATION..weekenders..that would come to see the falls and are looking for something different. Its in the facts, nature oriented/ architecture oriented / cultural tourists SPEND MORE than your average tourist. If buffalo needs one things its more people here spending money.
    Honestly do we need to be reminded of our horrible sports teams in every piece of Buffalo related media? Has anybody read the article about those meatheads from wgr 550? What a bunch of idiots.
    The are sports teams everywhere and there are festivals everywhere..I for one am glad we’re trying to focus on some other things. Hell, the lines at the Taste of Buffalo and Allentown are far too long anyways and we don’t need to do any more free promoting for our multimillionare sports team owners either.

  • JM

    I guess a few people have remixed the video, this one is very good, albiet a bit negative, ok very negative.

  • brad57vett

    At least folks are engaged on the issue.
    Here is another take on much of the same imagery: