We wanted to share some thoughts on behalf of the Calgary Stampede and our many employees and volunteers about a recent Stampede TV ad and the surrounding commentary.

This ad has been the topic of a couple of news stories and some lively online discussion. We appreciate that our community is so willing to provide their thoughts on our activities!

We’ve been a part of this community for a long time and our aim to be inclusive and relevant to all Calgarians. So we are reading and listening to your comments – we’ve seen a few negative comments by email, online and social media. We’ve seen many more comments in support of the ad.

We are appreciative of the comments that support the ad, but want to make it clear that we certainly don’t support any personal attacks on people who hold a different viewpoint. Let’s all respect each other’s right to have a differing opinion.

Back to the ad…Here’s the Champions Buckle Up ad.

It’s a variation on the Champions theme we introduced last year.

This year’s TV spot is one part of an overall campaign that includes, print, radio and online creative and other Stampede marketing pieces including our website. One screen grab from one ad might not give you the full story on our communications.

Our communication materials are consistently built from the foundational belief that, as a community, We’re Greatest Together – Calgary Stampede strives to create a gathering place for all Calgarians. We’re proud that our midway is a true representation of our city’s makeup – with Calgarians of all backgrounds creating memories with their friends and family.

The creative idea behind the campaign is to be an example of the different ways of how some – that’s some – Calgarians might get ready for Stampede.  Specifically, the ad portrays people from different walks of life, underscoring how all Calgarians come together to put on and participate in this unique community gathering-they are all Champions.

We think this is a unique and positive characterization of how Calgarians see themselves as Stampede approaches.  It is unfortunate that the media coverage we’ve received so far focuses on only one actor in our ad and not the seven other actors reflecting the diversity of our community.

People of all kinds buckle up – or get ready to take part in the Stampede – in many different ways:

  • Kids setting up their little lawn chairs along the Parade route
  • Community organizers hosting their neighbourhood Stampede breakfast
  • Twenty-somethings getting ready to hit one of the many bars and tents around Calgary
  • The family packing up their gear to enjoy a midway afternoon
  • Tipi owners prepping for their stay at Indian Village
  • Western Showcase volunteers getting the Western oasis ready for opening day
  • The band doing a sound check before they hit the Nashville North stage
  • Tourists buying their first cowboy hat
  • 4-H kids grooming their show steer

As a not-for-profit we just don’t have the budget to do a four-hour ad that depicts how all Calgarians and visitors get ready for Stampede. And who would watch it?!

So we invite Calgarians and visitors to share their ideas all the different ways that different people and groups prep for Stampede. Share your images and stories by tagging your Tweets or Instagram shots with #stampedechampions.We hope for all kinds of images and stories that reflect all the ways people take part in the Stampede festival.

A couple of folks have suggested that the Stampede must support sexist views and lewd behaviour because we show a young woman getting ready for a night out. That’s a pretty big leap in our opinion and for the record we absolutely don’t support this kind of behaviour. 

In fact, we believe that a woman or man should be able to dress how they wish to take part in Stampede festivities. We know for some people Stampede is a time to celebrate – and that’s great! And we think putting on a cowboy hat should elevate your behaviour and class; not diminish it.

We know that our city’s reputation as a safe, warm, welcoming city is at its best during Stampede. We appreciate that our community expects the CS brand to be fun, celebratory, respectful and community-based and our communications will strive to reflect that.