Unintended? Maybe. Off the mark? Maybe not
Eyebrows went up this week after the Sarasota-based Business Observer came out with a cover story featuring Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn accompanied by an awkwardly placed stick-on ad for a local developer.
The ad looks like a cartoon dialogue balloon, according to a report from the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
It says “Let’s Talk! Commercial Real Estate.”
And it was positioned so it looked like Buckhorn was saying it.
The Journal quotes the Business Observer’s managing editor saying the ad’s placement was a coincidence. A media ethics scholar at the Poynter Institute told the Journal it might have been nothing more than poor planning, though she had her doubts.
But here’s a funny thing: Buckhorn talks about commercial real estate all the time.
This is, after all, a mayor who jokes that he’d make the construction crane the state bird. In two years, he’s worked to turn the old federal courthouse into a boutique hotel, bring a waterfront restaurant to Water Works Park, help developers build a skyscraper next to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and encourage apartment development from the Channel District to North Hyde Park. He’s also started plans to redevelop the western bank of the Hillsborough River and daydreamed aloud about how a Major League Baseball stadium could energize downtown Tampa. He’s even scheduled his annual state of the city address next Tuesday for the historic but vacant Kress building — not because he says he has a big announcement to make, but because he wants to promote the fact that it’s available and on the market.
So you want to talk commercial real estate? Buckhorn’s all ears. However inadvertent, he acknowledged the juxtaposition of his photo and the ad was in keeping with the tone he’s set at City Hall.
“I didn’t even think about that, but it’s probably something I would have said,” an amused Buckhorn said Wednesday. He chuckled. “It was indeed. Absolutely. Bring me a deal.”