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Left Over: Adblock is Adhoc Answer to the Ugly Ad Dilemma

AdBlock Plus mobile browser could devastate publishers About 215 million people will use ad block services on their computers by June, company estimates

CBC News Posted: May 25, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: May 25, 2015 5:17 AM ET

Twenty-four hours after Ad Block Plus launched its Android browser with an ad blocker built in, it logged more than 200,000 downloads. (Bloomua/Shutterstock)

Online advertising is beyond obnoxious, but I do realize it is a necessary part of getting ‘free’ content…

Instead of my first inclination to think it is a right wing conspiracy to control media content to the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Joseph Stiglitz laments the corporate takeover of policy-making processes, including by imposing trade rules which impede democratic decision-making: The real intent of [investor protection] provisions is to impede health, environmental, safety, and, yes, even financial regulations meant to protect America’s own economy and citizens. Companies can sue governments for full compensation for any reduction in their future expected profits resulting from regulatory changes.  This is not just a theoretical possibility. Philip Morris is suing Uruguay and Australia for requiring warning labels on cigarettes. Admittedly, both countries went a little further than (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Bad Designs

I’m not a graphic designer. I was not formally educated in that art. However, over the years, my jobs in editing and writing for books, newspapers, magazines and publishers have required me to learn the rudiments of layout, typography and design. I am the first to admit my design talent is merely adequate. Despite that, […]

Rob Maguire: I’m teaching copywriting at UBC

This week I begin teaching a UBC Continuing Studies course on copywriting. While I’ve given plenty of workshops and conference presentations, I’m very much looking forward to working with the same group of students for a full two months.

After all, the enjoyment I get from teaching communications skills is one of the reasons I got into the consulting racket in the first place.

That said, the idea of keeping a group of keen professionals engaged and interested for a full 150 minutes each week is a touch scary, but it’s the good kind of scary that means you’re being (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne writes that by finally recognizing the unfairness and ineffectiveness of Alberta’s regressive tax system, Jim Prentice may be starting a needed national debate: Alberta Premier Jim Prentice talks up taxes for individuals including a sales tax (Alberta is the only province not to have one) and adjusting income taxes. But what about those oil companies? This might also be an ideal time to consider how the province can receive a bigger piece of the oil revenue when prices do bounce back. The prep work should start now.

When oil prices boom, (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Does YOUR Favorite Corporate Exploit Tragedy for Sales?

It’s not like capitalists deserve your pity when they accidentally offend people while they try to embrace their communities to build spirit. And profit.

It is partly because corporations are pretend human beings, with no emotions, no social conscience [beyond PR gains] and no capacity for human empathy, which is a fundamental part of human society.

Corporations must maximize shareholder wealth, while exploiting people and the environment. So no surprise that when they try to improve market share by corporatizing 9/11 and Boston Strong some people get offended.

And why not! Try this one on: “Remember 9/11; Soooo, Make Sure (Read more…)

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Facebook, Likes and Big Data

I suppose you could call it ironic. There was a story from a ‘friend’ on my Facebook news feed today called “Quitting the Like” all about escaping Facebook’s data collection processes by simply not “liking” items or comments you see. Right below this ostensibly anti-Facebook story were three related links produced by one of the […]

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how we’ll soon be seeing both federal and provincial governments alike try to block out their real history with glossy ad campaigns – and why we shouldn’t let them get away with the plan.

For further reading…- Torstar reported here on the Cons’ use of public money to generate fake news and how it fits in to the broader federal advertising machine. And Gregory Thomas discussed their shift toward using public money for communications rather than programs here. – Mike De Souza wrote about the CRA’s newly-ordered destruction of employees’ text records here. And Paul McLeod (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ryan Meili examines why Craig Alexander of the TD Bank is calling for a move toward greater income equality in Canada: The OECD reports that income inequality is at the highest level in 30 years, and that economic growth has been slowed by as much as 10 per cent in some countries as a result. A 2014 IMF study showed that redistributive policies through tax and transfers not only do no harm to the economy, but can improve performance in the long-term. In fact, it appears that public investments in child care and (Read more…)

wmtc: negative reviews and threats of lawsuits: let’s not give in to corporate bullying

There’s a new bully in town, and he’s not going after fat kids in the school cafeteria. He’s a corporate bully, and he’s gunning for you, his dissatisfied customer.

An increasing number of companies are threatening lawsuits against customers who post negative online reviews about their products or services. At least one company has actually sued a former customer for defamation, based on negative reviews – and won.

This is a chilling development for anyone who cares about free speech, a free internet, and consumer advocacy. But it may not be as dire as it sounds.

A slightly more (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How @Dicks Sporting Goods Can Advance Feminism, So Easily

Dick’s Sporting Goods, in the all-too testosterone world of sports, released a catalogue with virtually no women in it. Except for cheerleaders and a girl watching men play sports.

A 12-year-old calls them out on this because even 12-year-olds get equality.

Dick’s sent a FOAD brush off letter back [see below].

Here’s what Dick’s ought to do now.

Recognize that there is profound sexism in sports. Recognize that they have been a part of that. Seek out organizations that promote equality in sports. Partner with them to promote equality. Open up their catalogue and advertising process to expanded stakeholder input. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On universal freedoms

I won’t wade too far into the sudden discussion of political advertising raised by the Cons’ plans to change copyright law to favour political advertising, as Michael Geist has largely captured the most important points. But I will raise one quibble with Geist which hints at a more reasonable legal reform. My criticism of the government here is not in seeking to protect political speech by ensuring that the law features sufficient flexibility to allow for appropriate uses without permission. Rather, it stems from the view that there are far better policy approaches available than an awkward self-interested exception.

As (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- CJ Werleman writes that the U.S.’ inequality nightmare is getting worse even as the public gains a greater recognition of the issue. Nick Kristof recognizes that radically different levels of wealth result in a serious lack of opportunity for anybody who doesn’t win the genetic lottery. And Katharine Cukier notes that the type of empathy and generosity all too often lacking south of the border has given her and her family a fair chance at happiness in Canada.

- But Ralph Surette observes that the Cons are going out of their (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Evening Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Vineeth Sekharan debunks the myth that a job represents a reliable path out of poverty, while reminding us that there’s one policy choice which could eradicate poverty altogether: A job alone does not guarantee freedom from poverty. In fact, in 2012, at least one member of the household was employed in a staggering 44% of all poor households. Even in situations where an individual is employed, there may still be the need for income supplements, as well as educational and employment supports.

This is partially because of the monumental changes that have occurred (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: To dream fondly of the day when ads haunt our dreams

Heather Mallick’s column about the public’s willingness to sell out to the corporate sector for cheap unfortunately meanders off on a few too many tangents before reaching much of a point. But even if she’d connected with a truly incisive take, snark has nothing on Terence Corcoran – who goes to far as to whine that spam e-mails are “essential in a market economy”, and to suggest that any legislation goes too far in regulating the digital equivalent of door-to-door sales.

Which leads to the question: exactly how many people – the marketing industry excepted – actually see the constant (Read more…)

Art Threat: Daniel Higgs at Café Oto: A refuge of cultural integrity

In the mosh pit of global corporate excess that claims so much of London (UK) circa 2014, Café Oto is an oasis of cultural intelligence and inspiration. I popped in last night to check out Daniel Higgs and Michael Zerang, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Daniel Higgs (formerly of Lungfish) is a compelling performer: part troubadour, part sacred chanteur, part angry prophet, all the while plucking and playing a 5-string banjo like a sitar. Michael Zerang accompanied on percussion and was particularly rivoting with his hand drum. In their more electric moments there was something almost shamanic about their stagework (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: Newsprint ‘wraps’ – not good for fish and, as it turns out, not much good for newspapers either

The Edmonton Journal’s “wrap” Friday, showing the hidden front page inside. Below: The wrap’s uninspiring front page.

Now that nobody sells fried fish wrapped in yesterday’s edition of the local daily any more, presumably for fear the ink will leak through into your liver, the term “wrap” has come to be faintly respectable in newspaper circles.

The word nowadays is used to describe a four-page advertising feature that wraps around the entire newspaper. They’re one of the few profitable services the declining industry has left to sell in an era when fewer readers want the print product, and when ads (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Robert Reich proposes that the best way to address corporate criminality is to make sure that those responsible go to jail – rather than simply being able to pay a fine out of corporate coffers and pretend nothing ever happened.

- And Shawn Fraser suggests that Regina developers should pick up the tab for the costs they impose on the city – even as the city itself has opportunities to both better shape residential growth, and turn a profit through its own own development corporation.

- Meanwhile, the CP reports on the (Read more…)

The Right-Wing Observer: Harper’s Conservatives already have enough evidence

Harper’s Conservatives don’t need you telling them how incompetent or wasteful they are. They don’t need to know those things and they certainly don’t need anyone telling their faithful – dare I say, blind – voters either.

They already know. They have enough evidence.

Due in part to laws that Harper’s Conservatives passed as part of their ‘new era of transparency and accountibility’, they are required to survey Canadians about the impact of government advertising campaigns and make those results public. And now that they are getting unwelcome answers to their questions, they’ve stopped asking.

The unwelcome responses come on the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Jim Stanford looks into the fine print of the Hudak PCs’ assumptions about corporate tax slashing and finds that even their own numbers show that most of the money gifted to corporations would be thrown away (emphasis added): On second reading there are other interesting aspects to the Conference Board simulation of corporate tax reductions.  The one that jumped out at me was their estimate of increased business capital spending after the tax cut (reported in Table 5, and the main driver of economic benefits in the simulation), reported in the fifth (Read more…)

wmtc: military propaganda at sports events reaches new extremes: continuous recruitment ads at baseball games

I’ve recently returned from a lovely trip to Boston, filled with so many of my favourite things: friends, family, books, and baseball.

I love Fenway Park, and I’m always happy to be there. On this trip, we saw three great games, two of them wins, so I was thrilled. The games were marred by only one thing: nearly constant propaganda for the US military. This is not an exaggeration.

Throughout Fenway Park, as in many sports venues, there are monitors showing a TV feed of the action on the field. Right now, between innings, the Fenway Park monitors show (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- The Star-Phoenix discusses how the Cons are systematically attacking the independent institutions which are necessary to ensure a functioning democratic system: When a handful of Conservative MPs from Saskatchewan attacked the integrity of the province’s electoral boundaries commissioners last year in an attempt to subvert the democratic process, it may have seemed to be a rogue act of an outlier group of politicians concerned with their electoral future.

But when you consider the tactics of the MPs, who accused Justice Ronald Mills and political scientist Prof. John Courtney on the commission of attempting (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Matthew O’Brien is the latest to pick up on the connection between pre-transfer income equality, redistribution and sustainable economic growth: Redistribution overall helps, and at least doesn’t harm, growth spells. That’s because the positive effects of less inequality add to or offset the negligible, or negative, effects of redistribution itself. When redistribution is in the bottom 75 percent, these positive effects are the only ones, and growth lasts longer. And when redistribution is in the top 25 percent, these positive effects make up for the negative ones from taxing-and-transferring so much—it’s a statistically (Read more…)

Art Threat: Michelangelo’s David takes up arms in American gun ad

An American weapons manufacturer is the subject of outrage in Italy — but this international offensive lies strictly within the cultural realm.

ArmaLite, an Illinois-based small arms engineering firm, has bestowed indignity upon Michelangelo’s David by using the classical sculpture as a prop in a rifle advertisement.

The tacky advert has incensed Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini, who made his displeasure public on Twitter yesterday: “The advertisement image of David armed offends and infringes the law.”

The ad itself is nearly a year old, having first been tweeted by ArmaLite itself as part of an promotional campaign last (Read more…)

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Advertising, bondage and consumerism

I turn off the mute on the radio, to check if the nauseating ads are finished and we can get back to the music, and I hear, “New York steak…” – so I mute it again immediately; and I think: Advertising = the intensification and multiplication of human wants and desires = the diminishing of […]