My 2 Sense My 2 Sense

My 2 Sense

Government Advertising

Canada Starts Here

We pay for them to tell us how good they are and why we should support them. WTF

April 4, 2013

Our economy is shaky, our infrastructure needs a major overhaul and one in seven kids in BC is going to bed hungry and Ms. Clarke spends 64 million bucks on advertising including $15 million on her BC Jobs "aren't we doing great" program.

And she SAYS she stands for families.
The Feds are no different. Harper and the Conservatives have endless Action Plan ads running in prime time. For what? Simply to say, "aren't we good" and "you should continue to vote for us."

It's all bullshit and if I were able to do anything about it, I would not allow Governments to advertise ANYTHING, ever, on any medium. Now they claim their ads are "informational" to keep Canadians and BCers up-to-date with what's going on. Sure...and we definitely need this information in the middle of the latest episode of CSI-Miami. And at least 4 times in that hour.

Action Plan

The fact is that governments; municipal, provincial and federal send us taxpayers reems of mail with bills, invoices and forms all the time. So slip your non-partisan "rah rah" piece in there on another piece of paper. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper and only cost us a few trees.

The point is, governments have NO RIGHT spending our money promoting themselves, especially in the dishonest guise of, "here are our brilliant programs" with the unstated, "arent' we terrific" subtext. Listen, my whole career has been in advertising. It can be a ruthless and smary business with some real jerkoffs running agenies and campaigns. I tried very very hard to only tell the truth while promoting products and services. I told a pizza franchise I wouldn't advertise their pizza as the best in town, because it was godawful. No worries, was the reply, we only want you to advertise our phone number and 30 minute delivery.

Similarly, I talked a car dealer into only advertising 2 or 3 sales a year and making them REAL so the public actually could believe them. It remains my opinion that nobody believes car dealer sales as the have them every weekend with brilliant slogans as "Push, Pull and Drag Sale" that has been around since 1947.

So now that we are onto content, what the hell does "Canada Starts Here" actually mean? Seriously, do they mean that because we on on the east shore of the Pacific Ocean, Canada starts here and goes east? As true as that fact is, I don't think so. I think they mean, "everything that is good about Canadians is right here in BC." Just like it is in every other province you idiots.

Best Place on Earth

This is the one I really get a kick out of; "The Best Place on Earth." What a complete and utter crock of shit.

I fully understand our Minister of Tourism wants to promote us to the world in the most glowing terms, like the "Super, Natural" slogan which I quite liked. But the best place on earth. Come on. With the possible exception of eastern Turkey, the middle of Libya and other desolate places, every city, province, state and country thinks it's the best place on earth.

This slogan is so ridiculously Un-Canadian. It's like everything in the U.S. is "world famous" or "world championship" when people in other countries don't even eat world famous New York Fries or play NFL football.

I guess this kind of advertising is inevitable when the agencies who get the government ad contracts also sell waterbeds from stores that go out of business and then reopen under a new name. Or car dealerships and furniture warehouses that have bogus sales every single week.

Here's a little comparison between ourselves and our neighbours to the south, you know, the worldwide kings of marketing and advertising.

Canada U.S.A.
1. BCE
2. General Motors
3. Government of Canada
4. Procter & Gamble
5. Hudson's Bay
6. Chrysler Dodge Jeep Dealers Assoc.
7. GM Car Dealerships
8. Rogers Communications
9. Canwest Global Communications
10. Chrysler Car Dealerships
27. Estee Lauder
28. Lowes
29. Amazon
30. Deutsche Telekom
31. Diageo
32. U.S. Government
33. Best Buy
34. Volkswagen
35. Kellogg
36. Citigroup
As you can see, our Federal Government is our third largest advertiser while the US Federal Government is number 32. Our masters in Ottawa spend $111,324,000 a year on advertising with $53% on TV, 23% on newspaper and the rest on radio, magazines ad nauseum, (pun intended.)

The bottom line is: NO politician in ANY party is ever going to put an end to advertising. They will attack the party in power for it and then when they get in, do exactly the same thing.

Integrity is as hard to find in the advertising profession as it is in politics. Familiar bedfellows indeed.