“What Happens In Clifton Park, Stays in Clifton Park” Ad Campaign Scrapped

By Scott Salad

Published January 3rd, 2016

CLIFTON PARK — The latest attempt to rebrand Clifton Park as an exciting place has backfired and now town officials are pulling the plug on one of the most costly tourism campaigns in recent history.

Town Supervisor Richard Schnapp said the decision to drop the multi-million-dollar  “What Happens in Clifton Park, Stays in Clifton Park” promotional campaign was difficult.

“We had very high expectations,” said Schnapp. “But it flat-out failed on every level.”

The intention behind the marketing strategy designed by the New York-based ad firm Markum, Dandy & Laidman was to create circumstances whereby normal people would imagine themselves engaged in out of the ordinary, sometimes scandalous behavior while on vacation in the suburban Saratoga County town.

But when it came to execution, the creative team clearly struggled to find situations, locations, events, personalities, eccentricities and attitudes that were remotely outrageous and/or exciting.

One such ad — a $13 million spot that aired during last year's Super Bowl—featured a man slyly shushing the camera as he shopped for plants at the Hewitt's on Route 9.

Acclaimed marketing analyst Noshy Manning said the commercial clearly missed the mark.

“Was the average viewer suppose to believe that they could get into delicious trouble if they chose Clifton Park as the place to buy their geraniums?” he asked. “And why did the guy in the commercial want us, the viewer, to keep the whole thing a secret? What was the secret? It made no sense!”

Other ads, equally puzzling, centered around an oil change and tire rotation, a Raymour & Flanigan spending spree, a complimentary breakfast at the Hampton Inn and Suites and a soft-rock acoustic happy hour at the Chili's on Route 146.

“The most amazing thing about this campaign is that it ended up making Clifton Park feel even duller than it is,” Manning said. “How is that possible?”

Schnapp, meanwhile, said his town — which is mulling plans to rebrand itself yet again — has begun to embrace a far more realistic self-image.

“Instead of trying to make it seem like exciting things happen here, it's far more economical for us to embrace the fact that they don’t,” he told The Smudge.

He went on to list several new slogans under consideration, including: ''You're Not Dead, You're Just In Clifton Park,” “Come For the Quick Response Restoration Christmas Light Show, Stay For the Car Washes,” and “Did You Know We Have A Cult? Google It!”


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