Do you remember 1998? It doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago really, until you stop and think about it. But it was. Nearly two decades, and in another millennium to boot. And boy oh boy, was the Island ever a different place back then. We were still getting used to that newfangled fixed link to the mainland, the Confederation Bridge, which celebrated its first birthday that year. Pat Binns was serving his first of three terms in office, having brought the PCs back from the dead in the 1996 general election after ten years lost in the political wilderness. The legendary Roger Younker, the Island’s answer to Ron Burgundy, was still at the helm of Compass. Dave “Eli” MacEachern became a provincial sports hero when he took home a gold medal (bobsled) at the Winter Games in Nagano. We all coveted that delicious carbonated contraband, canned pop. And there was nary a roundabout nor unnecessary highway realignment to be seen.
My word, weren’t those the days?
And yet, you’ve heard the saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” – we were just discussing it on Wednesday. Well, when it comes to how we promote ourselves to the wider world here on the Island, it’s a saying that couldn’t ring any more true. Not even if it tried. And I daresay, today’s post proves the point.
On Wednesday, in between bouts of shovelling, I was trawling through YouTube in search of Film Friday content when up popped this gem of a pre-Y2K television ad from 1998. I couldn’t believe it – you really can find anything online these days. If you’re an Islander, you must remember this:
Golf. Beaches. Coastal shots. Rolling fields. After watching it nostalgically a couple of times, it struck me just how very little our tourism marketing has evolved over the years. Don’t believe me? Here’s a promotional piece from 2016.
I rest my case. There may be nearly two decades in the difference, but simply switch out the now-obsolete “come play on our island” for the current “gentle island” handle (or, in the latter’s case, “Canada’s food island”), and you could easily reuse the ad (I’d even keep the disembodied, cigar-chomping head for a touch of whimsy). If you watch both of them on mute, the similarities are even more frightening.
The more things change…
PEI History Guy
P.S. – I see it’s snowing on here. Not my doing. Not my doing at all. Curse you, WordPress.