Leeds Loves Shopping…
This is the brand for a 10 day ‘fashion lover’s festival’ to be held in the city in October.
Just think about that as a brand. Something to be known for. A perception to be planted in heads around the world….
‘Oh yes, that’s the place that loves shopping‘
‘Sounds interesting! Why don’t we go there and spend some of our hard earned….’
The fact is that many of us don’t love it. Hate is probably a more accurate description of our relationship to ‘shopping’.
Some for the mind numbing tedium that it induces.
Others because of its role in driving consumption, environmental degradation and sexualisation of society.
Still more because of debt.
So for a large chunk of Leeds residents this brand leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
It is just not true.
‘We’ are telling a little white lie to help drive our retail economy.
I wonder what else we will tell little white lies about if it delivers the holy grail of economic growth?
And who are the ‘we’ in this case?
As far as I can make out it is a partnership between Leeds City Council’s marketing team and a group of retailers. I am OK with my relationship with one of these being ‘caveat emptor’….but the other, well, I would quite like to trust them.
Now I suspect we paid a lot for the Leeds Loves… brand and the whole ‘Leeds. Live It. Love It.’ campaign. But does it give us more than a neat line to attract outsiders to come and throw their money at us?
- Does it gives a brand that we can rally a diverse community around?
- Does it open up space for conversation and dialogue?
- Or does it just provide a set of ready-made assertions that mean we don’t have to work too hard to get our messages out?
Just to be clear, I have no problem with some kind of fashion and retail festival being used to pull in the crowds. I’d prefer my city to be known for things other than its retail offer, but we are where we are. Pragmatically, perhaps, it makes sense.
But ‘Leeds Loves Shopping’. Really?