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Scripturient: Marketing Wow

Advertising and marketing, design and public relations, influence and persuasion – they all fascinate me. I love to listen to Terry O’Reilly’s show on CBC (both Age of Persuasion and Under the Influence). I’m actually reading on… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Marketing Wow

Scripturient: Amateur layout and bad ads. Again.

I see the Town of Collingwood is still letting the EB layout its full page of ads in the paper. Tragic. Embarrassing. Cringe-worthy. The latest back page mashup has as its first ad the worst of the worst sort of ad layout, the sort only amateurs wou… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Amateur layout and bad ads. Again.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.- Oxfam offers its latest look at global inequality, featuring the finding that 62 people now control as much wealth as half of the people on the planet. And the Equality Trust discusses how that extreme inequa… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Dead Wild Roses: Wow, 2016 is just as chockfull of Sexism as 2015.

This just isn’t right, not at any time or circumstance. Yet, these witty ad-wizards have decided that sexism sells and are trying to promote a translation device that allows you, as demonstrated, to creep on non-English speakers. Awesome.   Cringe worthy to say the least.Filed under: Feminism, Media Tagged: Advertising, Creepers, Feminism, Oh those normative […] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: Wow, 2016 is just as chockfull of Sexism as 2015.

Scripturient: The Gauche in the Machine

Rudibus ex machina: criticizing Collingwood’s latest newsletter feels a bit like punching a puppy. Or commenting on the sloppy grammar of local bloggers. Both are far too easy, like catching fish in a barrel, and I feel guilty when I even think of doing it. But since your tax dollars are at work, it needs […]

Accidental Deliberations: This seems pertinent

In light of the Cons’ latest misleading ads, let’s take a quick stroll through the offence provisions of the Canada Elections Act: 480.1 Every person is guilty of an offence who, with intent to mislead, falsely represents themselves to be, or causes anyone to falsely represent themselves to be,(a) the Chief Electoral Officer, a member of the Chief Electoral Officer’s staff or a person who is authorized to act on the Chief Electoral Officer’s behalf;(b) an election officer or a person who is authorized to act on an election officer’s behalf;(c) a person who (Read more…)

wmtc: what i’m reading: the doubt factory, a young-adult thriller by paolo bacigalupi

A thriller about public relations? And for teens? It sounds improbable, and The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi is an improbably terrific book. Marrying a somersaulting plot with heart-pounding suspense to an unabashed political agenda and a hot love story, Bacigalupi has delivered a stunning youth read.

On the political front, we contemplate “the place where big companies go when they need the truth confused. . . . when they need science to say what’s profitable, instead of what’s true.” All the tricks of the trade – astroturfing, fronts, false flags, sock puppets, money funnelling, stealth marketing, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Attack and response

Earlier this week, Andrew Coyne mused on Twitter about how parties seek to make hay out of attacks by their opponents, with particular emphasis on the Libs’ response to PC and Con attacks on their leaders in 1993 and 2004. But I’d think it’s worth noting some distinctions between then and now which may make the tactic rather less effective than it might once have been – as well as discussing the circumstances where it might still work.

To start with, let’s look at the threshold a party needs to cross to be seen as going too far – and (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: We swim in patriarchal soup

Snapped at a red light on the way home last week

This ad only makes sense in the presence of the following cultural subtext:

Women’s anger is not valid in the same way that full adult humans’ (i.e. men’s) anger is valid.  You don’t need to get to the root of the problem and address it; just spend the right amount of money to show you love her.  She couldn’t possibly be having a reasonable reaction to being treated badly, she’s just feeling insecure or jealous or maybe on her period.

Filed under: Culture, Feminism Tagged: Advertising, Patriarchy

. . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: We swim in patriarchal soup

Accidental Deliberations: On needless machinery

Those of us who have seen the Libs focus much of this year on criticizing the Cons’ partisan advertising might be rather surprised to learn they don’t think there’s any room to cut or redirect any current federal spending, and in fact consider it offensive that anybody might suggest such room exists.

But on a closer look, there’s actually a consistent theme behind the Libs’ message. While their petition on advertising criticizes the Cons for wasteful spending, it doesn’t promise to change anything other than to create a new commissioner position to oversee future publicity – meaning that it could (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On messaging tests

Following up on yesterday’s post, I’ll make clear that nobody should hold any illusions that the NDP’s opponents will abandon their own efforts to pursue seats simply because the NDP holds a strong position for the moment. And on that front, Bob Hepburn floats a few trial balloons as to messages which the NDP’s opponents may try to use against it.

It’s certainly worth discussing and being prepared for the attacks we’re most likely to see. But while Hepburn merely labels a laundry list of possible messages as “weak spots” without any critical evaluation of their effectiveness, the likelihood (Read more…)

A BCer in Toronto: Election ad review: Ready (and repeating vs busting the narrative)

After months of the Conservatives carpet-bombing the air waves with an ad declaring Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau just not ready, the Liberals finally responded with an ad of their own yesterday: Ready.

While many initially dismissed the Conservative ad as lame and ineffective (as they have every ad they’ve released for a decade, only to later concede they were devastatingly effective) I immediately saw it as a very effective piece because it zeroed it on a doubt most Canadians already have: is Trudeau ready to be Prime Minister? Very smart was the line at the end — I’m not saying (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On teasers

Yes, this will do nicely as the trailer for the long-awaited film The Fall of the Harper Conservatives:

But let’s make sure people know where to find the full screenplay. (And putting some more of it in front of the camera may not hurt as we approach the election campaign won’t hurt either.)

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Purity Factories’ advertising no treat at all #nlpoli

Venerable local food manufacturer Purity Factories has a new advertising campaign featuring its delicious cream crackers.

On a billboard in the east end of St. John’s,  the line in big letters opposite a shot of the product says “not gluten free.”

The tag below it right next to the company logo is “Treat yourself.”

If all you know about gluten is the current bullshit diet fad based on junk science, then you might think this is a clever ad.

But for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with celiac disease,   there’s no treat in eating food with gluten.

(Read more…)

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…)