Last week the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) posted a video on YouTube and promoted it via their Twitter account. It’s something they do on a regular basis but this time the reaction was a little stronger, to say the least. The video, which has since been taken down, was a parody of the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl Shuffle and featured staff at several downtown hotels. According to the ICVA, the video was created to encourage meeting planners to stop by their booth at a conference in Chicago. It wasn’t created for the general public but ICVA posted it on their public channels without an explanation of the original intent. After it was posted, people did not hold back in criticizing what they thought was a video promoting Indianapolis to the general public leading up to the 2012 Super Bowl.
I’m not going to spend time dissecting the video and how the situation was handled; enough people have shared their opinions already. Instead, I’m going to use this space to give a call to action to my fellow Indy residents: Turn your passion into productivity!
Based on the comments, which quickly turned negative, a lot of people felt the video reinforced negative stereotypes about Indianapolis (i.e. that we’re hokey, Midwest hicks), among other things. In observing the whole incident, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the people commenting are involved in organizations or initiatives that work to move the city forward.
It’s easy to sit behind a computer and criticize but it takes effort to be part of the process. The people at ICVA work day in and day out to promote our city – a city I happen to love. If you think the video they created reinforces negative stereotypes, do something about it. Create your own video highlighting what you love best about Indy. Run for office so you can try to influence the future direction of the city. Get involved in conversations taking place to advance Indianapolis to the next level, like those regarding mass transit and the smoking ban.
If you’re worried about the Super Bowl and what people will think of Indy when they’re here, volunteer for a couple shifts. I’m working a few days in the NFL Experience and you better believe I will be talking up our city to everyone I meet and making sure they have the best experience possible. By stepping up and volunteering, I have a chance to directly impact what people think of Indianapolis. How cool is that?
At the end of the day, I don’t think the Indy Super Bowl Shuffle incident, or Shufflegate as it was deemed on Twitter, will ruin this city or set us back 15 years. If anything, it’s showed how passionate people are about Indianapolis and how much they care about our reputation. I just hope people will turn that passion into productivity and get involved in the process of advancing Indianapolis and making it even better than it already is.