Media

Hamilton: City of Jingles

By RTH Staff
Published August 05, 2009

Hamilton entrepreneur and ex-philanthropist Chris Ecklund has posted a promotional video, titled Hamilton: City of Waterfalls:

According to the comments, the video was written and produced by Cal DiFalco, a Hamilton musician and public affairs pundit.

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By Sigh (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 22:10:40

Hamilton: City of Fail

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By Reach Dream Rise Shine (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 22:20:18


Reach Dream Rise Shine - yah I don't remember that song either.

Thank god.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 05, 2009 at 22:41:43

I'm speechless. I'm without speech.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 00:08:16

I've been telling them it's awful (tomkinite). They won't listen.

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By Supporter (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 08:31:50

I like it. Way to go Chris!

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 08:56:34

Being close to nature is one of the perks of living here but promoting a city should focus on the city itself not what's close to it. Someone unfamiliar with Hamilton who sees this video, if they don't think it's a joke right away, will be disappointed when they visit.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 09:12:33

I personally think it is a great idea to tour the waterfalls. Any positive attention towards the city is good. I don't feel that video is very positive, though.

The author(s) won't listen to any constructive criticism. Apparently if you do not like the video you a sworn enemy to the City of Hamilton.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 09:18:56

I'm with synxer - I think our natural areas are an absolute beauty and gives us a whole means of promoting our city that most cities could only dream of. However, this sort of ad/jingle isn't going to send them flocking down the QEW.

I read the AGH annual report recently and was interested to know that after people from Hamilton, people from Toronto were responsible for the most hits on the AGH website in 2008. A good product is half the battle (we have that both in the AGH and our waterfalls). A good marketing campaign is the second half.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 10:45:13

Sigh:

Agreed... anyone think of posting this on FailBlog.org ? Title: 'Civic Pride FAIL'

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 10:46:24

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, has anyone seen the new Aero Bar (choco bar) commercial!? It's all of Downtown Hamilton and at the end they show some girl eating an Aero Bar on a balcony overlooking the whole Downtown Hamilton skyline!

NEAT!

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By waterfail (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 11:09:18

@Sigh and Really

Hamilton: City of Waterfail

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By gullchasedship (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2009 at 11:50:23

It would be a lot better if the singer wasn't struggling to keep from going flat.

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By omg (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 13:50:50

please dont let anyone i know ever see this thing again. they finally start to like hamilton and then this? arent most of those waterfalls in places that arent considered hamilton? websters falls is in hamilton? anything to avoid downtown i guess.

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By CheckItOut (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 14:00:39

There is a great piece on the Waterfalls on Torontoist, torontoist.com/2009/07/the_hammer_falls.php

I'm glad there is advertising of our many fantastic waterfalls, but the jingle really leaves a lot to be desired.

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By C. Erl (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2009 at 19:15:54

Umm...that was...interesting?

But I still think everything Ecklund does is trying to forward a future political career...just a hunch.

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By TheParty of NO (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2009 at 21:09:56

In the States the Republicans are the party of NO to everything that is going on....in Hamilton we have the many parties of NO everytime someone does anything positive...whether you like the jingle or not; whether Chris has an agenda or not...the fact remains he is trying to do something positive....give him credit or shut up!

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted August 06, 2009 at 23:16:01

It's a radio jingle with images added as an afterthought for a Youtube posting... how much can you really expect??

Its not great, or even good. And we definitely need way better PR for the city.

But for a jingle, the message Hamilton = waterfalls sticks in your head like Bay Bloor Radio or Home and Rural Appliances does in their ads. Irritating as heck, but I don't forget those names either. Maybe it will do it's limited-purpose job and associate Hamilton and waterfalls for some people.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 06:16:28

"give him credit or shut up!"

Finally, a positive attitude.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 09:47:09

@Meredith - Maybe it will do it's limited-purpose job and associate Hamilton and waterfalls for some people.

Or the Head-On (apply directly to the forehead variety, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is3icfcbm... commercial.

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted August 07, 2009 at 09:51:21

Compared to the truly epic awfulness of the infamous Fabricland jingle ("Fabricland, Fabricland!") this jingle is downright benign. It's certainly getting attention ... which last time I checked is exactly what a promotional jingle is supposed to do. Kudos to Cal and Chris for a fun promotion that some people are taking WAY too seriously.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 11, 2009 at 17:01:51

Seems Ecklund isn't the only one with a Political Agenda... Mr Difalco may be singing his Mayoral Campaign Jingle sooner-than-later shudders

"This is a story all about how, Hamilton did NOT flip n'or turn upside down..."

He's against Light Rail (http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog.asp?id=1138); Deals with such characters as Chris Ecklund (http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog.asp?id=1476#comment-32649) And seems disconnected to Hamilton's TRUE issues; not Winona's.

2010 may end up being a very scary election year :s

What happens if Ecklund becomes Mayor, and Council or Media criticize him? Will he just cross his arms and pout? Quit Mayor? Call someone to write him a jingle about it!?!?

I'm so sick of this guy's name!!!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 11, 2009 at 18:38:56

Difalco also recently wrote an oped in the Spec praising Ecklund's fallsapalooza without mentioning his direct involvement (and that of his wife who does the singing) with the campaign.

The Bay Observer is all over these guys, needless to say. It's exactly their style of shallow, good old boy boosterism.

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By g. (anonymous) | Posted August 11, 2009 at 22:34:46

jelly has to cover this song!

p.s. anyone have a link to the aero commercial?

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By VOTE2010 (anonymous) | Posted August 11, 2009 at 22:55:06


2010 could also be a glorious election year - despite the rumours of a mayoral race that may or may not include Fred, Whitehead, Jackson and now DiFalco and/or Mr. Ecklund.

Can you imagine that debate? Snore...

If Ecklund was a true philanthropist he would decline interviews about himself - instead I read the Bay Observer (or B.O. for short) and get a puff piece about this guy who thinks waterfalls are neat.

He sounds crazy and his EGO is on full-on overdrive. How environmentally friendly is it driving around the Southern States in a tour bus?

Difalco and Ecklund cry for change and admit to being against the established politicos in town - but they are essentially the same old. They just aren't allowed in the club. I think for once me and the 'old boys' can agree on something.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 12, 2009 at 10:28:46

The last thing this city needs is tired, 'old hat'-style politicians.

Fred Eisenberger is the most progressive mayor we've had in my generation. If candidates are politically less progressive than Fred - no vote from me.

I think Mr. Ecklund has great vision for aspects of the city, but as a mayor I feel he'd be more like Morrow and I really can't deal with another era of that.

Sorry, Chris. I think you're a good guy with a good heart -- but stick to the philanthropy and waterfalls, please.

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By Yeahbut (anonymous) | Posted August 12, 2009 at 12:40:26

If you want to encourage more and better marketing, you can't automatically knock the little you get. If it's lame (I can't tell, the thing's been taken down from You Tube by the contributor) then do something better.

I don't give a damn whether Ecklund or DiFalco run for municipal politics. I'll vote for them, or not, if and when they declare. I don't see that attempting to contribute to the local community should disqualify them. Is it better that they make no community contribution while quietly gathering funding from local developers?

This is exactly what Florida meant by squelchers limiting creative input to community development. You gotta take what you get and build on it.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 12, 2009 at 12:48:51

Try this:

www.youtube.com/user/CityofWaterfalls

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 12, 2009 at 14:59:08

If it's lame...then do something better.

How do you know we aren't already? The creators and regular contributors to this site are doing something better. I don't know all the contributors and commenters on this site, but the ones I do know are passionately engaged in efforts large and small, to improve their community, with no thought to personal gain.

I don't see that attempting to contribute to the local community should disqualify them.

I don't either. It's their demonstrated lack of understanding and appreciation for Hamilton's urban character, and sound urban principles in general, that should disqualify them.

This is exactly what Florida meant by squelchers limiting creative input to community development.

I'm pretty sure Florida wasn't talking about taking the piss out of seeeriously lame videos when he warned against squelching. He was referring more to opposing positive, transformational changes such as LRT and cycling unfrastructure, two things DiFalco has come out against, ironically.

Of course, squelchers are also big on telling Hamiltonians that we're so pitiful, we must uncritically accept any type of investment in our city, and can't have a little light-hearted fun at the expense of lame, self-serving promotional gambits.

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By Dave Kuruc (anonymous) | Posted August 12, 2009 at 15:36:21

oh highwater!

How I adore the way you say things - Keep it up!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 12, 2009 at 21:20:21

Tee hee. Guess it would be weasely of me to upvote your comment.

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By Cal DiFalco (registered) - website | Posted August 14, 2009 at 08:05:01

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By Cal DiFalco (registered) - website | Posted August 14, 2009 at 08:34:56

Hi folks:

I just thought I'd respond to some of the comments.

Jingles are intended to stick in the listener's mind for future recall. Many jingles have a certain "cheeseiness factor" that helps to get them embedded. Many jingles that I hear on the radio, are very annoying and yet, I can't get them out of my head. That's the sign of a jingle that is effective, whether one likes the jingle or not. Thank-you for the feedback, good and bad.

In terms of the slide show, I don't think it was ever intended to be akin to a TV commercial. I did not create the slide show, but I sense it was simply an opportunity to showcase the waterfalls and some of the people who are working with Chris.

For the record, I am not against light rail. My article essentially suggested that we must have the fore sight to create additional attractions and opportunities within our city, so that the advent of light rail is complimented and supported by things to do and see. It was an argument that supports light rail by suggesting that we need to ensure its ongoing success and viability. I look forward to the implementation of a light rail solution. It's long overdue as a solution.

In term of Chris, I sought him out as I thought he would be interesting to speak to. I am interested in speaking to anyone who has good ideas for our city.

Thank-you again for your comments and feedback.

Take care

Cal www.hamilton365.com/products/93-mar-06

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 14, 2009 at 09:55:10

Cal DiFalco,

Thank you for coming here to speak your side. Firstly, I think we can all agree that Chris and the force behind "Waterfall Capital of the World" as a side of Hamilton being promoted is very smart and goes against what many people think of Hamilton.

That aside, this ad is still absolutely atrocious. As noted before, the cheesy ad thing does work - everyone agrees. But, you're promoting a tourism attraction. Not headache cream, fabric or appliances.

When all is said and done, you're promoting an existing thought process invoked by the word "Hamilton". I know that many people don't view Hamilton as poorly as I'm describing, but Hamilton does have an image problem. We can all agree on that. And that it's on the decline, certainly.

I tell you this video is absolutely awful because it's canceling the subject-matter out as novelty, not attraction.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 14, 2009 at 11:45:47

I like the billboards I'm seeing around town now, although I hope that many of them land throughout the GTA and New York State.

I'm curious as to who is behind the jingle and the billboards. I know Chris Ecklund was previously responsible for the waterfall initiative, but I thought he was canceling all 'philanthropic' work in the city. Has someone else taken up the torch, or is Mr Ecklund stil involved?

Cheers

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By Cal DiFalco (registered) - website | Posted August 14, 2009 at 11:46:32

Hi Synxer:

It's not appropriate for me to defend or attack the video. I wrote and produced the jingle. I also wrote and produced Mayor Eisenberger's jingle. I donated the jingle to Chris, in recognition of the good work he is doing. Writing jingles is not my profession and I never claimed that the jingle is perfect but rather, effective.

I think you made an important point when you said that " I think we can all agree that Chris and the force behind "Waterfall Capital of the World" as a side of Hamilton being promoted is very smart and goes against what many people think of Hamilton."

Whichever way we proceed, agnostic to theme, I think the resistance we will get, will be real.

Unfortunately Hamilton has been branded by some in a very unfavourable light. Consider the Toronto Columnist who referred to us as a "dump". I think there is an urgent need to re-brand ourselves and whether the City of Waterfalls is the way to do that, or whether that is one of many angles to approach this with, we will still face an unhill battle. Doesn't mean it's not worth trying and I would argue, we have an obligation to do so.

Cal

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 14, 2009 at 12:08:06

You're right, Cal. I worded it a bit strongly. You are not technically against LRT, but you are constructively against LRT. By suggesting that we must wait to implement LRT until there are more "attractions" downtown, you are ignoring the many examples of the huge impact on economic development that LRT has had on other cities, and condemning Hamilton to be LRT-less until it achieves some unstated number of destinations that you deem sufficient. The fact is, thousands of people already live, work, and play in our downtown. Your claim that we need more "attractions" to justify LRT is a slap in the face to the AGH, the Market, Library, Jackson Sq, James N, and the many shopkeepers and restaurateurs who work so hard to make our downtown the vibrant destination that it already is. It's this blindspot that makes me feel that you lack an understanding and appreciation of Hamilton's urban character. Of course, no one is arguing that there isn't enormous room for improvement which is exactly why we need LRT now. Your "yes, but" approach to LRT is classic squelching.

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By Cal DiFalco (registered) - website | Posted August 14, 2009 at 14:14:01

Highwater:

What I said was this:

We should think of a light-rail system as a staged implementation and, within that model, we should ensure that the first installations of light rail arrive in an environment that is equally able to seize the opportunity that light rail offers.

I did not suggest we must wait. I have the greatest of respect for those who live, work and play downtown. My article suggests that we need improvements. You wrote: "Of course, no one is arguing that there isn't enormous room for improvement which is exactly why we need LRT now. "

Cal

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 14, 2009 at 15:22:33

It's clear we agree downtown needs improvements, but I believe that the downtown is already well-positioned to seize the opportunity that LRT offers, which is why I argue that we need it now. Your remarks imply that the environment is not there yet, and that we must ensure that it is before we proceed. That sounds like waiting to me.

You also wrote that if we don't "plan how to surround it with things worthwhile to see and do...it is a bridge to nowhere." Nowhere? That is a pretty damning (and wholly inaccurate) description of our downtown.

I mean, you either believe that the downtown is already well-placed to benefit from LRT or you don't. If you do, then we agree that LRT should be implemented as soon as possible, in which case I'm not sure what the point of your article was. If you don't, then what are you suggesting if not waiting until certain conditions are in place?

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By synxer (registered) | Posted August 14, 2009 at 17:12:31

Cal,

I respect that you've taken time to do the video and any other promotional pro bono publico work you've done in the past for the city.

A glimpse at other positively revered jingles:

Marineland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFdSFZUPr... African Lion Safari: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wg1YnkIm9... Centreville: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsSaw7UUq...

While you'll notice that these commercials have incredibly catchy jingles, they aren't awful. Furthermore, the comments regarding these videos aren't complaining about the quality, rather, users are celebrating the video.

I see Chris Ecklund on Facebook showing us all his giant waterfall bus and several other vehicles that he's clearly spent thousands on. Then I see this commercial. I just don't get it.

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By cal difalco (registered) - website | Posted August 14, 2009 at 21:50:25

Hi Synxer

Thanks for the references to the commercials, all of which I've seen. I agree that they are very well done. However, I have to once again re-state that I wrote the jingle and did not produce the video. That apart, I'm not pretending that the jingle I wrote is as good as the one's you've posted. If we compared the budgets for any of those productions, against mine, it would be quite clear that one cannot expect the same results.

If I may, and because I am starting to feel somewhat under the microscope from a musical perspective, here is a sample of a song I co-wrote and recorded. I think it represents my work.

http://home.cogeco.ca/~caldifalco/fjclip...

(the song's gospel- I write in all genres)

Highwater

In terms od the Light Rail article, please bear in mind that it was written in the cotext of understanding that light rail was not going top arrive in Hamilton overnight. That it was being planned and would take place over a period of time, incrementally- thus, allowing time to do what I suggested in the article. respectfully, i think I have tried to explain as best i can. Bottom line is that I do support Light Rail.

Thanks again for the discussion. I enjoy the dialogue.

Cal

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 15, 2009 at 10:09:06

Well...

This may be the first time in RTH history that the commentary on an article has sidetracked into a topic that is altogether more interesting and relevant than the topic of the article itself!

Kudos to all above who maintained a respectful tone - and to Cal in particular, who signed in to defend his jingle against some pretty strong criticism and stayed to elaborate on his stance toward light rail.

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By The hog (anonymous) | Posted August 15, 2009 at 15:48:05

yeah except he didnt answer whether he is running for mayor hmmmmm

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 15, 2009 at 17:23:29

If LRT is such a great idea, why doesn't the private sector build it? The HSR began as a private business, so if there is money to be made, it will get built. Therefore, rather than plow more taxpayers money into wealth destroying activites (current HSR), we should cut tax rates and let the market decide if mass transit is a good idea or not. If it is a viable business idea, it WILL get built.

Businesses that produce value to society can charge more than what it costs to operate them. In contrast, public transit needs to charge LESS than the true costs of operation, because it can't produce value. The current HSR needs to be subsidized by taxpayers, otherwise it will run out of money.

How does giving investment dollars to business which can't produce profits make Hamilton wealthier?

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 15, 2009 at 22:52:03

and another thread off the rails......

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 16, 2009 at 03:21:39

Jason, if the HSR provides a valuable service to this city, why can't the city charge enough in fares to cover the costs of running it?

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 16, 2009 at 08:25:23

before I answer that, allow me to ask you this: If local roads and highways provide a valuable service to the city, why can't the city charge enough in tolls to cover the costs of running them?

My point is, it's a never-ending question that can be proposed for almost anything - libraries, fire service, garbage pickup etc....

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 16, 2009 at 16:38:01

I see DiFaclo supports Light Rail as much as DiIanni; ** Aslong as it's stuck in an expressway setting, getting people from the suburbs to their commuter lots while not having to see Hamiltonians, or those blasted boarded-up sotrefronts, along your trip!

Now THAT'S Light Rail... Tony Creek-Style!!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 16, 2009 at 21:39:10

@jason

"before I answer that..."

There's your problem. Don't bother answering persistent trolls. Just downmod and move on. The more you feed him, the more he'll stick around and keep trolling.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 01:29:19

Jason >> If local roads and highways provide a valuable service to the city, why can't the city charge enough in tolls to cover the costs of running them?

If you want really LRT you will probably get it. Just keep in mind that whenever you get something that benefits you, it always comes with a cost. Hamilton as a whole is currently a net recipient of taxpayer dollars and this free money isn't turning us into an economic powerhouse.

As an example, ever since the east end of Hamilton received it's benefit of getting a nice new highway, this area of the city has seen the smallest increases in property values. Therefore, to the extent that people in the east end did not pay the full monetary cost associated with their new infrastructure, they did ultimately pay (may even account for flood damage/costs in the east end).

Romans 12:20

On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Does anyone think that Hamilton residents will "win" by getting the most money from the government (other taxpayers)? In fact, the opposite will be true, we will lose. Therefore, stop whining about free stuff, start worrying about whether or not we are leeches and let God deliver the wealth (economic and overall quality of life) that we all desire. In order to get, you must give. Is Hamilton worried about giving or just taking?

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By Yeahbut (anonymous) | Posted August 19, 2009 at 14:20:03

Dear Highwater:

Many RTH contributors do contribute from their own resources to the betterment of the city. Dave Kuruc is one that I admire and whose opinions and judgement I value. H Magazine has value even if it's production is not as sophisticated as, say, Hamilton Magazine. H does things Hamilton does not.

My point was, and is, that there is no limitation imposed on the number of Hamilton jingles. If you think one not to be good, create and promote a better one, or support the same. The problem is not that somebody tried to produce a pro-local jingle and failed, but that there seems to be few others. That doesn't speak well for a "creative" community. A creative community excells and thrives on creating choice.

Critical feedback is positive, but there's no need to knock the efforts of others and/or question their motivations. That's squelching, whatever the venue. Please, turn your critical and creative skills to something more constructive.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 19, 2009 at 15:33:13

but there's no need to knock the efforts of others and/or question their motivations.

Why not? The jingle and video were lame and we had a laugh. Good grief. We're not allowed to laugh anymore? And since both Di Falco and Ecklund appear interested in running for public office, questioning their motives is entirely legitimate.

Please, turn your critical and creative skills to something more constructive.

Again, why would you assume that I'm not already? Believe it or not, I can multi-task. I use my critical and creative skills on positive initiatives in my community and I laugh at lame efforts to promote our city! When you live in this town, you've got to be able to have a laugh every once in a while.

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