Fredericton — A Tourism New Brunswick campaign is hoping to attract visitors to the capital city with the help of a new character called “Aloof Allan,” who represents the spirit and essence of Fredericton.
“He’s our answer to the North’s ‘Warm Norm‘; Allan is everything ‘Fredericton’ in one neat, slightly hipster package,” said campaign organizer Heidi Richard. “He’s relatively young, he has a tech job in something indeterminate like ‘content creation,’ he rarely goes elsewhere in the province because, well, he just doesn’t see the point.”
Allan’s main distinguishing trait, though, is one that’s familiar to Fredericton — his aloofness.
“This is a guy you’ll meet a handful of times and every time he’ll pretend he doesn’t know your name,” explained Richard. “He looks through you, not at you. You could have a long, in-depth conversation with him at a bar, and the next day you’ll see him walking down Queen Street and he’ll cross to the other side to avoid talking to you.
“He answers your every question with ‘What? Yeah, totally,’ before looking back at his Macbook,” continued Richard, “just so you know he wasn’t really listening. This man personifies indifference and cool standoffishness.”
Tourism New Brunswick says Allan, and the Frederictonians he embodies, has a fairly narrow perception of what socializing can and should entail.
“Allan’s aversion to newcomers is part of his charm,” elaborated Richard. “He’s been hanging out with the same friends since high school, and he’s now in his late 20s or early 30s. He’d rather not meet new people, unless they’re from somewhere cool like Montreal and Toronto. He has the sense that he’s cultured because he drinks imported beer and his clothes are from Robert Simmonds downtown. He likes to ‘grab a coffee’ at Read’s and chat about new business ventures. He considers himself an authority on local startups and entrepreneurs.”
Why create this character, when he’s, well, a bit of a dick? Tourism New Brunswick thinks honesty is the best policy when it comes to advertising the province’s capital.
“It’s like how everyone watches cooking shows where Gordon Ramsay tells people off for their sorry culinary attempts. Instead of forcing Ramsay to be nice, people watch it specifically for his meanness,” said Richard. “We think Allan’s aloofness will show the true spirit of Fredericton, and potential visitors will want to come, if only to see whether it really is like that here.”
Aloof Allan T-Shirts will soon be on sale at Robert Simmonds Clothing on King Street, and a tourism video all about him will be viewable on the province’s website by early March.