Zoltar’s crystal ball says future is good

An image from Wigan Council's new advert in which Zoltar the fortune-teller declares the borough has an economic plan
An image from Wigan Council's new advert in which Zoltar the fortune-teller declares the borough has an economic plan

A mysterious fortune teller called Zoltar has backed the borough’s economic plan in the latest unusual advert to promote investment in Wigan.

The surreal video for the Wigan Works campaign shows soothsayer Zoltar gazing into his crystal ball to discern Britain’s future in the wake of the EU referendum.

His first vision conjures up a frightening and dystopian picture of economic collapse and a broken society, but he then looks into his other crystal ball and realises there is hope for the future.

And the town which has an optimistic vision of growing prosperity and happiness which can act as an example for the rest of the nation is none other than Wigan!

The advert for the council-backed campaign is the follow-up to the equally-memorable Hyperbrain video, in which a powerful AI searched for the perfect business investment location and came up with the borough.

The quirky adverts have certainly grabbed the attention of the creative industries and other local government representatives, although the unveiling of Hyperbrain to the public generated a rather more mixed response.

Coun David Molyneux

Coun David Molyneux

Wigan Council said that although the adverts for Wigan Works were intended to be exaggerated and funny there was nevertheless a deadly serious point to the adverts.

Coun David Molyneux, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “While our Zoltar video is tongue-in-cheek, our team at Wigan Council is deadly serious when it comes to attracting business to Wigan borough.

“Wigan is open for business and our Wigan Works campaign shows we are very business-minded. We have a top class workforce ready to fulfil the new opportunities coming our way.”

Coun Molyneux said that despite the video being fictional Zoltar’s message that “Wigan has the plan” and businesses should invest there was based in reality thanks to the council’s work on attracting investment.

While our Zoltar video is tongue-in-cheek, our team at Wigan Council is deadly serious when it comes to attracting business

Coun David Molyneux

He said: “Wigan is a prime location for access to the North of England for logistics and distribution as the new Poundland and Nice-Pak investments show.

“We also have a wide range of employment sites available now for businesses to relocate to or to help them expand.

“Our Investment Framework is a clear plan to show businesses we are very serious about supporting their ambitions and helping them succeed.

“On top of that we have a proactive and supportive business team who are ready to help businesses with expert advice.

“We also have excellent local primary and secondary schools and beautiful countryside.

“It’s clear why Wigan is an attractive place to invest, work and live. Zoltar is right: Wigan has the plan!”

The Zoltar video has been released to coincide with Wigan sending a delegation to the UK’s biggest property event MIPIM.

The team behind it hopes it will be as popular as the Hyperbrain video, which became a viral smash with more than 250,000 YouTube views.

However, some residents were less enthusiastic, saying the advert failed to take Wigan seriously aspects such as Hyperbrain wearing a flat cap reinforced negative stereotypes of the borough.