Monday, Labour Day, I was driving back from Toronto’s only open mall with my family.

I noticed a parade developing at an intersection of College, so I looked right for a diversion. Seeing a rather narrow street to my right, I turned onto it because it had a sign that looked like this:

Where I come from (Ontario) that means two way street. Driving up that road, two pedestrians started waving madly. I stopped, worried. “You’re going up a one-way street! Turn around!” they shrieked.

“There’s a two way street sign back there.” I replied. “That’s why I’m here”

“That thing? That was because of a street festival a few weeks ago. It’s a one-way street. Turn around.” the friend of pedestrian #1 said.

I answered: “I can only go by what the street sign says. That’s kind of what street signs are for. If a sign says stop, I’ll stop. If a sign says don’t park, I won’t park. If it says two-way street, I’ll assume it’s two-way. That’s how these things work.” Sarcastic, I know.


I drove down the next 300 metres with three drivers going in the opposite direction honking at me and two more pedestrians gesturing interestingly at me. Was it me? Was I wrong? Sure enough, when I got to the end of the street, there was also a temporary stop sign asking people coming from my direction to halt. Victory! Or was it?

My conclusions / generalizations:

(a) Conversely with my previous post, Canadians know the rules when someone else is doing the driving

(b) People have a hard time believing that the status quo has been altered.

That’s my brand point today; the hardest thing to change is a long-standing perception. After a while, through habit, perception becomes reality. If a stranger walks down the street and tells you your reality is different, it’s not even worth listening to; it’s wrong. How could my one-way street suddenly be a two-way street? Assh**e!!

If you’re a brand, and you want people to believe what you’re saying, work on their perceptions, use their realities, and make sure you have REALLY good and simple proof if you try to change those realities.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. How would this scenario have played out in Costa Rica or London? Is there an international branding comparison to be made, or just a pile of banged up automobile?

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