Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Eating Babies is Good Marketing

If you want to gain national attention and get people and journalists talking about you from one side of the country to the other, let people know the truth. Tell them you eat babies.

Haven't you heard? Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minister, eats babies. And all the people who use Toronto public transit know about it.

Okay, okay, so he doesn’t eat babies. In this rather amusing but insightful article a witness who worked with Harper for five years swears he never saw our new prime minister eat a single baby during that time.

Set aside all the politics for a second: I’ve got to get me a device like this that will transmit my messages on the transit system electronic display boards, because that is a hell of a marketing ploy.

First you have all the weary transit riders thinking they’re hallucinating and then everyone’s talking about it. And there are news articles… Yep, this is one sure way to generate national attention.

(going into a slight rant for a second…)
Okay, okay. So there wouldn’t be all that much attention if it wasn’t Stephen Harper. But I still think that if I was going to resort to electronic vandalism, I’d put up something other than a political statement. And so what if there’s a little jail time if you get caught? When you’re an author, a crime writer, that’s just more PR for you. Plus, going to jail for a couple months isn’t punishment – it’s free research.

Now, if you want the political scoop on why someone would put this particular message up, I suspect it’s because Mr. Harper’s government scrapped the national daycare plan our previous government wanted to institute.

And the minute you start discussing child rearing and such, tempers flare. This is a hot topic amongst certain people. When I did early childhood intervention work, I sometimes worked with children onsite in daycares, sometimes in preschools, sometimes at home. I saw children in a number of environments. I certainly have my opinions about the way things should and shouldn’t be done. But all I’m going to say here is that instead of investing all government money in federally governed daycare, the money goes to parents directly to use as they see fit to care for their child. If that’s hiring Grandma to look after Junior, that’s fine. If it’s going to daycare once a week, that’s fine. I do respect a government that has said they aren’t going to dictate through financial incentives a program that pressures parents to choose daycare over other options.

Besides, daycare is provincially regulated in Canada and it does burn me when the federal government starts sticking their nose into that.
(back off the rant…

So, Mr. Harper doesn’t eat babies. And he hasn’t left them hung out to dry.

But it does make me wonder about various types of advertising. Even the people who said they noticed the message said they wondered if they thought they were hallucinating at first. It brings to mind rows of weary travelers, staring vacantly off at floors, windows, past faces, not really focusing on anything.

That’s what I remember from my days riding transit.

So, I wonder what kind of effect transit ads have?

I bet almost all of us, asked to name popular advertisements, would list tv ads.

If you had an advertising budget to promote your product – be it art, a magazine, a book, whatever – what do you think the most effective medium would be?

And now, a matter of personal pride
My husband has been promoted in the fire department. He’s been working really hard for this and there were four people up for this, so I’m pleased his hard work has paid off. Congratulations Kevin! And since we’re talking about evilkev, I’ll put the joke he sent me up today.

A boy comes home very excited and runs to his father to tell him he got a part in the school play. The father asks the boy which part he got.

The boy proudly announces "I am going to be the husband".

The father sternly told the boy, "That is no good. You tell your teacher you want a speaking role!"

The firstborn, the new Stuart MacBride. ** More kitten pictures tomorrow.


Sela Carsen said...

Ooooh, wook at de widdle biddy beebies!!!!

M. G. Tarquini said...


Trace said...

Aaaaw Stuart is SO CUTE!!!!!

Trace said...

Oh, and congrats to Evil Kev on the promotion!

Mary said...

Aaaaah - I can see the resemblance.

Well done EvilKev. I watched a documentary last night about the fire in the Underground at Kings Cross. Bravery does not even come close to describing what the firefighters did. Hats off to you!

Sandra Ruttan said...

Sela, Mindy, Trace, Mary - I know! Isn't he cute?!

And thanks for the congrats to Kevin. He's so busy with his training this year, and this is more for him, but I am really proud of his commitment.

Plus it's great for research purposes.

Lisa Hunter said...

Well, I live in Quebec, land of $7 daycare. When my son was little, I lived in Manhattan, and the difference is staggering. My son's daycare center -- comparable to the government one my daughter now has -- cost $16,000 per year. Per child. After taxes. And that was if you could get into one -- waiting lists were two years long if you didn't know anyone. In the meantime, you had to hire a private nanny, at $150 per day. That's what happens when you leave it up to market forces.

Not everybody is lucky enough to live near Grandma.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Lisa, Quebec is one of the provinces I haven't been in daycares in, but it has a pretty good reputation. How do you find it?

I feel I've seen the gamut of daycares here, and didn't want to really go into it, because when you aren't a parent you usually aren't respected for your opinion anyway. But I was really...concerned by how the Liberals were going to authorize national daycares. The gaps between them are so wide and shocking in many cases, the only thing I could envision was building new facilities to a national code, and all the existing ones would either disappear or not be federally funded.

I'm a real skeptic on what presently exists and I'd like to see it cleaned up big-time. I'm just glad that the government isn't dictating that's the only way you can get some tax relief. If it means more people trying to put their kids into what presently exists - at least here - I'd be enraged. I won't let my sister put my nephew in care unless I've inspected the facility and done a half day sit-in myself, but I have also had to give statements regarding staff abusing children and act as a witness, so I'm jaded. One facility I was at, my report on abuses was twenty pages long.

Really, pretty jaded.

Lisa Hunter said...

We've been delighted with the public daycare center in Montreal. My friends in the U.S. are all jealous. It's possible, though, that Quebec tries harder than other provinces to make daycare enticing, for various political reasons (not least of which is that all the children become francophone).

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Very cute.

I'm not sure he's furry enough to be Stuart, though.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Could be they try harder Lisa - in Alberta, you only need to attend an 8 hour seminar to be qualified to work with kids 5-12 years, and in BC you need no training to do that at all.


And Stephen, I'm confident li'l Stuart will have a beard in no time.

Cornelia Read said...


Oh, kitten!!!!!!!!! Born free, as free as the wind blows.....

Lisa Hunter said...

I read an article in the Gazette yesterday that said Alberta had the lowest percentage of working women in Canada, and placed the blame on the lack of quality daycare. Quebec, according to the article, has the highest percentage of working mothers. Which is either great or terrible, depending on your personal viewpoint.

Kate said...

Stuart is very sweet!

Congratulations to evilkev!

And in Australian news today:
AUSTRALIA'S largest child-care company was rebuffed yesterday in a legal bid to avoid responsibility for lapses in care when a toddler went missing from one of its centres.

The toddler was found by a neighbour, you'll be glad to know.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Lisa, see, now that is scary.

The daycare here does suck.

Thanks Cornelia and Kate - I'm passing all the congrats along to the evil one.

Yep, kids go missing all the time...

For The Trees said...

Congratulations and a pat on the back to Kevin. That's absolutely awesome, quite an achievement. Hard work DOES pay off sometimes!

Kittens. Our Molly is micro compared to your Stuart MacBride. I think Molly's the runt of the litter. She sure can squawl!! Loud!! But then she purrs like a diesel without a muffler...and she's already tackling the dry cat food, foregoing her wet stuff. Chell came by today and gave her a flea bath, then dried Molly off three separate times to be sure she didn't catch cold or pneumonia. Now the little squirt's back in the bathroom for the night, and God I'm hoping she'll take to the litter box in there. I can't be picking up smelly kitten poop from corners in the bedroom, my knees won't hold up that long. Okay, maybe a pillow on the floor would help...

I respect your experience in the child care arena. Wish there were lots of parents with even half an eye to the quality of care. There'd be some serious changes, if there was more attention paid. But I suppose that's just the way of the world: get by on as little as possible. Sad.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Congrats to Evilkev!

Stuart is adorable...makes me want a another kitten!

The joke was cute! Very tame for you...but cute!

Child son is 35 and lived 10 states much for daycare! LOL

Daniel Hatadi said...

Congrats to evilkev.

But let me get this straight: the cat's name is Stuart MacBride, and it is sleeping on the book written by its namesake.

There's so much room for blue humour here I won't say a word.

JamesO said...

Yup, definitely has the look of Stuart about him.

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