New ‘real people’ advertisements aimed to draw Islanders to Downtown Victoria


WATCH: A new series of promotional videos are being released to help bring a new image to Downtown Victoria. But are slick new ads enough to bring flocks of locals to the downtown core? Aaron Guillen reports.

They’re not actors. They’re just everyday citizens. And in one-minute promos, they share what they love most about downtown Victoria.

But will they change people’s preconceptions? The Greater Victoria Business Association thinks so.

“So I actually love the range of videos because we see that inclusivity and diversity simply reflected by the people telling their stories,” says Jeff Bray, Executive Director of Downtown Victoria Business Association.

Whether it’s an entrepreneur, dancer, or foodie, the idea of the ads are simple. There’s a place for everyone in downtown.

And lots of people agree.

“Victoria is the garden of Eden,” says Bill when speaking to CHEK on Wednesday.

“I’m always downtown, I do a lot of walking, I got rid of my car. So, Victoria’s pretty great,” adds Elizabeth, a passerby along Yates.

“I really agree with the fact that everybody here is very friendly people,” says Linda, on her way home from grabbing groceries in downtown.

But that might not be the case for everyone, especially those who live in the suburbs.

“There are also a lot of problems that go by the wayside, like our housing problem, the fentanyl crisis, and the lack of safe injection sites,” says Max, another passerby.

While the mini-movies have a positive message, it’s still hard to change people’s minds.

“I think that people on the outskirts like me are reluctant to go downtown particularly during the summer when we assume that there are thousands of tourists around,” says Brock Smith, a UVic Marketing professor.

But the association says they’re going to keep trying to re-frame downtown’s image. And they’re looking for new candidates to help showcase downtown.

Interested residents can apply on their website. The next round of 10 promos is set for release in June.

Aaron GuillenAaron Guillen

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