Canada, Christmas, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Marketing, Media, News, Opinion, Public Relations, Wordpress

Beware charities bearing gifts. Guilt as a fundraising tool; don’t give in!

Charity_giftsTimeo Danaos et dona ferentes – or as we say in English: “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”. It’s from Virgil’s Aeneid and refers to the old soldiers-in-the-big-wooden-horse trick. But it’s also a good idea to keep in mind when it comes to fundraising techniques.

With Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween over, the gears of consumerism ramp up into Christmas mode. The decorations are up and retailers are hoping for a dusting of snow, just enough to create the right atmosphere for the spirit of spending, but not so much that people can’t get out. And right alongside the stores are the charities. Last year I ranted about Chuggers, those street corner charity workers in their red vests who just won’t take no for an answer. This year my charity rant came to me, I didn’t even have to go outside.

It would seem that the current method of choice for many fundraisers is guilt. I’m referring to those charitable organizations that send you something – greeting cards or address labels – right out of the blue, before you’ve even made a contribution, trying to strike at your sense of responsibility. But don’t fall for it. There must be thousands of return address labels with my information on them at various points in the recycling process. They keep arriving, totally unsolicited, and as I rarely, if ever, use snail mail, I just plunk them right in the bin.

By all means donate to reputable charities this holiday season, but do it out of the kindness of your heart, not because you’ve been coerced by a group trying to make you feel indebted because they sent you something first.

As was the case with Chuggers, it seems Britain is well ahead of North America as reported in The Guardian in 2008 – Crackdown on charity ‘gifts’.

Lest you think I’m some sort of Scrooge, let me assure you I have my causes to which I contribute regularly.  So these attempts to make me feel guilty for not replying with a donation to cover the cost of the “gifts” fall flat. And even if I didn’t request them, I don’t throw away all of those goodies, nor do I tie-up the mail service by returning them to the sender: tote bags, birthday cards, calendars and even the occasional shiny nickel would cost the charity a significant amount in return postage, so I keep them. And yes I use them, they were given to me after all.

By all means donate to reputable charities this holiday season, but do it out of the kindness of your heart, not because you’ve been coerced by a group trying to make you feel indebted because they sent you something first.

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MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Media, News, Politics, Public Relations, Television, Toronto, Twitter, Wordpress

Twitter in history: If only these guys had thought of the drunken stupor defense!

Tweets

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Canada, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Media, News, Politics, Public Relations, Television, Toronto, Wordpress

Rob Ford, Rodney Dangerfield: Two tie-challenged guys getting no respect!

Below are the top US talk show hosts taking shots at Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in the wake of his admitting to smoking crack cocaine. While I in no way condone the mayor’s behavior, it is an interesting twist that in a world of political corruption and lies, when a politician does tell the truth, the piling-on really begins.

Geez … what’s a fella gotta do to get some respect?

 

Ford_Dangerfield

It brings to mind another tie-challenged plump man who couldn’t get any respect – Rodney Dangerfield!

 

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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A letter to Toronto’s Mayor Ford from Montreal

Toronto_Skyline

Your Honor,

As mayor of a large city you may well be familiar with Thomas Hardy’s 1886 classic The Mayor of Casterbridge, but to paraphrase Oliver Hardy, not Thomas, ‘Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten into’.

Let me start by mentioning that as a Montrealer through-and-through I am in no position to point fingers of blame or chant nah-nah-nah-nah-nah derisively in light of your troubles. Given our City Hall track-record – when the mayor steps down amid swirling accusations of mismanagement and fraud, and the guy selected to fill in as interim mayor is arrested on suspicion of fraud, you know you’ve got a problem – let’s look ahead instead.

Let me start by mentioning that as a Montrealer through-and-through I am in no position to point fingers of blame or chant nah-nah-nah-nah-nah derisively in light of your troubles.

Let me just say I do think you should step aside for a bit, but you’ve made up your mind not to, so here is my advice going forward.

The first thing you need to do is fire your public relations consultants, or hire some if you don’t have any. May I suggest you consider a firm from Montreal as I’m certain there is a plethora of tarnished-city-image specialists here! It should have been brought to your attention that, as a mayor who isn’t keen on media attention, by wearing an NFL team logo tie at yesterday’s news briefing you essentially guaranteed your place as the lead story not only on news networks around the world, but on a whole raft of sports specialty stations as well. Lose the tie; and for that matter don’t loosen the tie, if you’re going to wear one do it up, if not, go without.

It will be a great improvement both to your health and that of Toronto’s to hear people saying “I saw Rob Ford coming out of an AA meeting today” instead of “I saw Rob Ford last night, man was he hammered!”

Secondly, when Dr. Phil comes knocking, and you know he will if he hasn’t already, have someone tell him you’re out. Without doubt you need help; but not with the whole world watching. Start taking those steps one at a time – yes, those steps, all 12 of them – with a local group. You are a man of the people; let those people help you now. It will be a great improvement both to your health and  Toronto’s image to hear people saying “I saw Rob Ford coming out of an AA meeting today” instead of “I saw Rob Ford last night, man was he hammered!”

Finally your police chief has to either resign, or stand by you. Unless you can orchestrate a news briefing – sorry, last one – with him beside you pledging to work together, one of you has to go.

Toronto has been through worse; let’s face it, almost 50 years without a Stanley Cup is nobody’s idea of fun. Look at Boston and how that city rallied from a terrorist attack last spring to win the World Series. Boston Strong! Maybe your new PR firm can come up with a catchy slogan too. (Please, please don’t let anyone tell you Toronto Strong is the way to go. It’s been done.)

Godspeed Mayor Ford and Toronto

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Off Target on Poppy Selling

McCraeTalk about missing the Target! You really have to wonder sometimes what people are thinking. I don’t mean that guy who just cut you off, or cruised through a red light; evidently he wasn’t thinking at all. I’m talking about those folks who are paid big money to think: public relations professionals.

Since the early 1920s the Canadian Legion has been selling commemorative poppies to honour those who were killed in war, starting with the First World War and continuing to the present victims in Afghanistan. The concept comes from the poem In Flanders Fields the opening lines of which refer to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow in the churned-up earth of soldiers’ graves in Flanders, a region of Europe that overlies parts of Belgium and France. The poem was written by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae on 3 May 1915 after witnessing the death of his friend and fellow soldier the day before.

With this heritage, what in the name of God were the people at Target Canada thinking when they released a statement saying that the sale of poppies, traditionally done on street corners and in larger stores, would be restricted to an area outside their stores (they were kind enough to elaborate and explain they would tolerate the seller standing between the two sets of doors if the weather turned ugly – all heart these folks).

Was the idea to create a small kerfuffle in one part of the country then issue a nation-wide statement and come off as heroes? If so they certainly misread Canadians as I suspect more will remember the original banning of the poppy sales  than the too-little-too-late welcome.

Granted they have now bent over backwards in an attempt to remove the bad taste left in some potential-clients’ mouths and have in fact welcomed the Canadian Legion to set up in any of its stores across Canada and sell poppies. But the question that still boggles my small but fertile mind is who would have thought about banning the sale in the first place.

From a public image standpoint, there is nothing safer than commemorative poppies. They are non-denominational, paying respect to fallen soldiers of all, or no, religious backgrounds, they are not political, and the funds raised go to various veterans’ causes.

So what was it that made someone wake up one day and tell this huge retailer, one that is currently making a major foray into Canada, that banning the sale of poppies was the way to go? Was the idea to create a small kerfuffle in one part of the country then issue a nation-wide statement and come off as heroes? If so they certainly misread Canadians as I suspect more will remember the original banning of the poppy sales than the too-little-too-late welcome.

Today’s Daily Prompt is HONOR; I believe this post fits that category.

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that. a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Nyad and Trappe need PR help to deal deal with critics as they pursue their dreams

NyadI have to admit that my first reaction when I hear of these things is that these people have way too much time on their hands. First we had swimmer Diana Nyad going from Cuba to Florida (without a shark cage). Cubans have been trying to do that for over fifty years and all they get is a one-way ticket back. Now we have Jonathan Trappe attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean via helium-filled balloons, over 300 of them.

Who really cares?

Nyad need only remind people she used no shark cage – the period of increased speed was due to a group of hungry sharks nipping at her heels.

Evidently some folks care enough to complain. In the case of Nyad those with knowledge of marathon swimming are wondering how, during one seven-hour segment of her journey she was able to double her speed, Trappe is drawing flack from the helium lobby because the world’s supply is running out and it can’t be replaced.

Trappe, with all the political blather and posturing regarding what to do with Syria’s chemical weapons, could simply claim to be exporting some of the abundance of hot air!

These critics could be easily silenced by a fine publicist: Nyad need only remind people she used no shark cage – the period of increased speed was due to a group of hungry sharks nipping at her heels. On the other hand Trappe, with all the political blather and posturing regarding what to do with Syria’s chemical weapons, could simply claim to be exporting some of the abundance of hot air!

Don’t these people think?

Late breaking news from The Guardian indicates Trappe has abandoned his flight over Newfoundland.

Logo_3DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that. a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Advertisers’ bane: HDTV makes small print readable by all viewers

Before the invention of the High Definition , large screen television the average viewer had no way of actually reading the small print at the bottom of an advertisement. Even with an HD-TV the small print on many pharmaceutical ads is pretty much impossible to make out, nit because of the size of the print, but the sheer amount of it.

Even with an HD-TV the small print on many pharmaceutical ads is pretty much impossible to make out, nit because of the size of the print, but the sheer amount of it

Sometimes the small print is merely legal ass-covering as in the case of the Cadillac ads. A car is shown weaving at high-speed on a number of treacherous roads and tracks (for some reason the passenger in the car shouts “It’s like Armageddon out there?!?) to illustrate the handling and overall performance of the automobile. Meanwhile the small print informs us that the ad was filmed on a closed set, with a professional driver; “do not attempt”. Okay, just the company’s way of protecting themselves should some moron try to replicate the ad on a highway at rush hour.

Sometimes the small print is merely legal ass-covering as in the case of the Cadillac ads

Caddy

But sometimes the small print is a little bit sneaky, which is why it’s small. The only problem is HD-TV, the bane of advertisers makes it legible to all. There is a very popular line of products called President’s Choice (PC) that is available right across Canada in various supermarkets. They have a series of ads that are supposed to be interviews. I’ve personally never been a fan of the fake interview strategy in advertising. In one such ad for the company, the alleged interviewer is talking with a couple who own a pig farm. Specifically about the humane way they raise the pigs that PC uses in its products.

Not just PC bound pigs, but all similar pigs raised in Canada are antibiotic-free

PCA big deal is made of the fact no antibiotics are used on the pigs that PC uses. That sounds pretty good – I guess. Unless one of the pigs has an abscessed tooth or a bad case of pus-hock, but I digress. What kind of spoils the effect is the small print, easily readable on an HD-TV informing the buying public that no antibiotics are used on any pigs in Canada. Not just PC bound pigs, but all similar pigs raised in Canada are antibiotic-free.

So the days of hiding behind a slew of small print caveats and warnings may be coming to an end as television viewers have sharper and clearer images to watch.

So the days of hiding behind a slew of small print caveats and warnings may be coming to an end as television viewers have sharper and clearer images to watch.

 

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