Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh Canada

One of the few pleasures left to us in these troubled times is in seeing PR people, Spokespersons and their political masters being turned on a spit of their own making, having been found saying things that are the opposite of true. At present, such pleasures can be found in Alberta, in Canada, where the Provincial Government chose to promote itself with a photograph of a beach in Northumberland, in Ingerland.

Northumberland and Alberta differ in many respects, not the least of which is that one has a coastline while the other is land-locked. So it was inevitable that the sleight of image would be uncovered. When the inevitable occurred, the Government might have said they made a mistake with the stock photography, that all they wanted was a view with a couple of those pretty but slightly spooky kids who probably go to a Steiner school, the sort of kids you see a lot in advertisements these days; but they picked a picture from the wrong country, but it was understandable that nobody spotted the error because Alberta's many lakes have so many beautiful windswept beaches. They could have said that; they could have been more direct and said what an employee eventually said: "we screwed up... we're sorry." But they didn't.

Instead, a Spokesperson tried to convince us that the picture “represents Albertans’ concern for the future of the world.” Alberta's Tourism Minister, Cindy Ady, made things worse by saying the choice of photograph added an "international flavour" to the campaign and "shows the province is engaged with the world." To make things worse still, the Premier himself, Ed Stelmach said, "It's more broad than Alberta ... because we do care, not only about Alberta's environment but the world." And to make things worse than that, the British papers attributed his Spokesman's remarks to the Prime Minister of Canada.

Meanwhile, the PR agency responsible for this mess refuses to communicate, hiding behind commercial confidentiality. And now everybody knows.

As Talleyrand said under entirely different circumstances and Idiot/Savant under others still, c'est pire qu'un crime; c'est une faute /it's worse than a crime; it's a mistake.

And here are some folksy Australians called Rand and Holland, performing a song which sounds, in a folksy kind of way, peculiarly similar to Yo La Tengo's Cherry Chapstick.

1 comment:

BMO said...

Well, the ad is pretty amusing, showing beaches and such and then realizing Albert has no coastlines. Oh some people, always surprise me and make me laugh, I wonder what they were thinking when the ad was being made.

Thanks for the article, Lorne