Tag Archives: prop

Big Bucks Spent for Harper’s (Distr)Action Plan

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The Harper Regime has spent at least $136 million on advertising in the fiscal 2009-2010 period and it’s likely that this number will be trumped by the 2010-2011 figures. At least $54 million of this is for the Economic (Distr)Action Plan.

Ironically, this amount is nearly exactly what the big media conglomerates had their hands out for in the previous period, when they lost significant revenue from big advertisers like the car companies.  That’s right:  you’re paying hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize the very same companies that are jacking up our Internet rates and who are whining about subsidies going to the CBC.  Companies like Sun Media, Bell and Rogers.

Also, let’s not forget that the agency that works for the Cons is likely pulling in at least 15% of this spend and more likely 25% of this amount in various fees, including media placement, creative services, research, etc.  Based on some estimates, this amount alone is worth some $100 million dollars since the Cons have taken office.

This scale of campaign is unprecedented and exceeds the budget of some of Canada’s largest marketers, including Tim Horton’s, Bell and McDonald’s.

It’s hard to imagine that as they spread all of this cake around, the Cons aren’t getting super deep discounts with the rest of their ‘normal’ partisan attack ads that they probably just swap out with the (Distr)Action ads.

To sum up, it’s heart-warming to know that many others are waking up to the reality that Stephen Harper has taken a $60 billion deficit and turned it into a $60 billion marketing campaign.

And it’s a big friggin waste of money.

Canadians are sick of the (Distr)Action plan wasting our money.

We’re sick of the billions being OVERspent on planes we don’t need.

We’re sick of the waste that Harper is telling us we need in order to stay afloat.

Make it stop.

Get these guys out of the House as soon as possible.  They’re poisoning our government and our country with their lies.

Again, the irony isn’t wasted on me.  Most Conservatives keep repeating the lie that Canadians don’t want an election and we don’t want to waste $300-$400 million on an election, but many estimate that the Cons have spent at least this amount over the last few years on propaganda and we should probably expect a lot more over the next few months.

That said, I’ll gladly spend $300 million in Canadian taxpayer money so that billions more aren’t wasted on Harper boondoggles.

Here’s the original story:

OTTAWA – Taxpayers are shelling out $26 million over three months for all those Economic Action Plan ads the Harper government is airing on TV and radio.

A marketing specialist says the outlay is more cash than a big advertiser like Procter and Gamble would spend in a year in Canada.

The massive TV and radio buy is shared among three federal departments for slick ads that began airing Jan. 11 and wrap up by March 31. The ads have been hitting some of Canada’s priciest advertising real estate: the Super Bowl, the Oscars, and Hockey Night in Canada.

Human Resources and Social Development Canada has budgeted $14.5 million on three separate advertisements over nine weeks. The Canada Revenue agency is shelling out $6.5 million over 11 weeks, and Finance would only say its $5 million campaign runs during February and March.

All the ads link to the Economic Action Plan website which has drawn the ire of critics across the political spectrum for its partisan tenor.

The current run of television ads is also coming under fire, in particular a Finance department spot that features actors singing the praises of the Harper government’s 2009 budget plan.

“We’re getting ready for the future,” a student-like character tells the camera.

“The global economy is still fragile,” a francophone mother figure quickly adds.

“But we have a plan we can rely one,” chimes in someone dressed as a farmer.

A series of phrases in light lettering hint at specific measures in the plan: “Knowledge Infrastructure,” “Small Business Tax Cuts.” But they don’t explain how people can access those measures.

Critics say the ads are aimed at promoting the government when they should be giving citizens specific program information.

“There is a clear difference between an ad selling Canada Savings Bonds — or perhaps where (and) how to get a passport dealt with — than EAP ads,” said Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

The federation recently resurrected Canada’s federal “Debt Clock” — last seen in the early 1990s — and Gaudet said “stopping the clock will involve scrapping this kind of advertising that smacks so much of partisanship.”

Alan Middleton, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, called the dollars involved “huge.”

“A major advertiser like Procter and Gamble wouldn’t spend that within a year in Canada, it’s that big,” he said.

Annualized to about $100 million for a full year, “not even McDonald’s and Tim Hortons spend anywhere near that.”

Corporate giant Bell Canada spent $89.5 million on measured media in 2009, according to Marketing Magazine.

The Prime Minister’s Office, although it advises and must sign off on all government ad campaigns, referred The Canadian Press to recent committee testimony from a senior civil servant for comment.

Anne-Marie Smart of the Privy Council Office told the government operations committee last week the overall strategy is designed by the prime minister and his cabinet. All ads must be “aligned to government priorities” and must “address the information needs of Canadians.”

“All (EAP) advertising is aimed at driving people to the website,” said Smart. She added that the site itself “is not considered advertising.”

Total federal advertising cost taxpayers $136.3 million in 2009-10, including $53.2 million on the Economic Action Plan.

The 12-week total cost of the current campaign left opposition critics dumbfounded.

“This is an absolutely obscene amount of money to be spending, particularly promoting an ‘action plan’ with no action left in it,” said Liberal MP Mike Savage.

“This is an abuse of government resources. It’s offending Canadians, it’s confusing Canadians and it’s angering Canadians.”

Pat Martin of the NDP called it “tantamount to a blitzkrieg.”

“My God, they’re carpet-bombing the country with self-serving messages at the taxpayers’ expense.”

The spending totals come on the heals of news that Finance has set aside another $4 million to advertise the March 22 federal budget during this current fiscal year which ends April 1.

John Baird, the Conservative House leader, dismissed Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff’s complaints about the $4-million budget as relative chump change.

“If he wants to complain about a million here or four million there, he’ll have to respond why he wants to waste $300 or $400 million on an early, opportunistic election that no Canadian wants,” Baird said.

But Middleton the marketer said the surest sign of a pending election is the government’s own advertising blitz.

“It’s amazing how spending by departments that make you feel the government’s doing something goes up enormously before there’s an election called.”

I’m going to start lying now … because the CRTC says I can

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This update from Michael Geist speaks to the CRTC decision to modify their rules concerning false or misreading news.

In effect, what is says is that the CRTC will now allow our media companies and broadcasters to lie to the general public, assuming that no one gets hurt in the process.

They are lowering their standards when standards don’t need to be lowered.  Did you call the CRTC and ask for permission to lie to the public?  How about your friends and family members?  Did they request more lies with their vitriol?

September 1, 2011 will be a sad day for the Canadian public as this will be the intended day for implementing these new ‘dumbing down’ rules.

It’s crap like this that makes most Canadians believe that the CRTC should be scrapped.  It’s nothing but a Con and large media mouth piece.

To voice your disgust with this change, submit your comments here:


Scroll to the bottom and click on Notice # 2011-14.

It’s unlikely that your comment will be heeded, but it might make you feel better.

Mainstream Media is Dead (aka “My Print Days Are Over”)

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In the world of media (and me being someone who’s involved with the media world), today is a big day for me.

I officially (and personally) have come to the conclusion that traditional mainstream media is dead.

Of course, if it’s not dead, it’s dying because it’s something that lay-people like me simply can’t afford to buy any more.

TV died for me nearly 10 years ago.  I couldn’t handle paying nearly $100 per month on crap, so I canceled our cable subscription (and I recommend you terminate your cable subscription as well.  In fact, we should start ‘cut the cord’ parties around the country).  Since then, we get most of our entertainment via rentals, the web and other means.

I hung on to print for some reason.  I haven’t bought a copy of the Globe for years and I’ve never bought the Sun or other junk related to the Sun chain.

That said, every weekend, I used to buy the Saturday and Sunday editions of the Toronto Star.  This was a few years ago and it was part of my routine.   Then, the Star raised their Saturday price to $3.50 per copy and I stopped buying it, keeping my weekend reading to Sunday only.

This morning, I walked the dog over to my regular Sunday Star box and imagine my surprise when the price of the paper had increase 67% to $2.50 per copy from $1.50.  In absolute terms, it’s not much, but I didn’t have enough change, so I turned around empty handed and started this blog post.  Once I’m done, I’ll cruise through Progressive Bloggers and a few other sites to satiate my Sunday routine.

By there’s a bigger thing happening here, isn’t there.  Mainstream media is dead to me.

It’s now no longer possible for them to spoon-feed their BS agenda via their mouth-piece and I’m feeling all the better for it.  In fact, as I think things through, I remind myself that no trees had to die today on my account so that I could skim through the entertainment or op-ed pages.

And I’m 42.  What’s happening with the kids who are half my age?  Sure, some are getting MuchMusic via their parent’s cable subscription, but my bet is that they’re starting to disappear even more rapidly from the pulse of mainstream into the wild world of web-based media.

The people who are twice my age or even one generation older are scared.  They own all of this junk and they’re no longer getting the regular residual income that they used to.  Sun taking a dive into specialty TV clearly shows that the management knows nothing about the future of media in this country or elsewhere.  They’ll waste millions trying to shout at an empty audience and we’ll all be the better for it because it’ll bring the Sun down sooner than we ever could have hoped.

Unfortunately, as they fail, they’ll run to the government with their palms wide open begging for billions and not mere millions.  The waste will be phenomenal and we will have to obstruct it and oppose it at any juncture.

For progressives to have a stake in any of this future, we have to capitalize on the volumes of traffic that they’re getting with their sites.  We have to start thinking about how we’re at the top of a massive opportunity to start guiding the conversation – and the body politic – in a direction that makes sense for all people and even the planet.

Rants need to be researched, diatribes will have to become discourse, but we have a chance to make this happen.

Some outlets are already on their way:

Huffington Post

The Tyee


Media Coop (The Dominion)

Progressive Bloggers

The Real News Network

What other sites or aggregators do you know of that I can post on this blog or in future articles about the future of progressive media?