Friday, September 12, 2014

Bell sets a grease trap for students with delicious #poutine

Bell poutine may not appear exactly as pictured

Since you can't give free beer to students to get them interested in your brand, Bell Canada is delivering the next best thing:

Okay, so this is not exactly helping students achieve a healthy lifestyle on campus. But I certainly ate my share when I went to Queen's U in Kingston.

Offering swag to students is an old marketing trick, but at least this one is for a service that they actually need. (As opposed to giant home theatre rentals or credit they won't be able to pay back.) And I'm sure they'll work off the calories come exam time.

Someone please let me know if there's a PETA protest.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Twitter protip: Research before hashtagging! #whyistayed

Via Time

It's easy to see how this happened: Whoever manages the DiGiorno frozen pizza Twitter account saw a trending hashtag, #whyistayed, and completely misunderstood it.

From the Tweet above, it looks like they assumed the meme was about staying in a tired relationship. It was actually used by survivors of domestic abuse to share their stories, like "I thought I could change him," and "I didn't know he was abusing me." It runs parallel to another hashtag, #whyileft, and both allow strangers to create a huge, virtual support group.

The DiGiorno Tweet was a huge mistake, making it as far as coverage in Time. The administrator has been performing due penance, apologizing individually, over and over again, to people who called them on it.

The moral of the story? Educate yourself. Not just about what hashtags and memes are really about, but deeper on the underlying social issues that drive them.

And when you do screw up, make it right. Even if you are just a pizza brand.

Thanks to Audra Williams (via Facebook) for the tip.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Canada's coolest police force is at it again...

Remember when York Region Police "won the internet" by replying to a guy's Twitter request for dope

This year, they're using that same type of humour to warn local university and college students about the consequences of drunken hijinks. And somehow, they manage to make it feel less like a lecture:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Scottish anti-independence ad goes "bad" viral #PatronisingBTlady

You might wonder what they were thinking.

The "no" movement in the Scottish independence referendum, Better Together, recently released this video ad featuring a woman soliloquizing at home after sending off her husband and kids:

Almost immediately, a backlash began. Under the hashtag #PatronisingBTlady, an explosion of memes started circulating to criticize the gendered clich├ęs around a stay-at-home housewife who finds politics confusing:

The viral activity has since spilled over into mainstream media in the UK. However, the people behind the campaign defend it:
Despite the fact the film has created a vociferous internet response punctuated by a series of caustic retaliatory memes, campaign director Blair McDougall has defended the piece’s cinematic integrity. McDougall suggests the piece is flavored with social realism. 
The ad uses words“taken verbatim from conversations on doorstops with undecided women voters,”and from the“opinion of women in dozens of focus groups around the country,”he claimed. While the ad has heightened the campaign’s profile considerably, the precise nature of publicity it has garnered may not be warmly welcomed.
Certainly, there are individual women in Scotland who resemble the stereotype. But does that mean it's something that should be reinforced in a national advertising campaign?

Scottish social anthropologist (and "Yes" man) weighed in with a meme of his own:

But the real question is whether this ad will sway any voters. And moreover, which way will it sway them?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Is this any way to change the perception of women in tech?

An specialized underwear company called "Dear Kate" had a cheeky idea to promote its wares while also celebrating diverse women who are crashing the technology industry "boys' club": get a bunch of female CEOs of tech companies to pose in their skivvies for the online catalogue.

Dear Kate is not an ordinary lingerie company. Its products were originally designed as a less-Dependsish for women suffering from incontinence, and has since branched out into promoting leakproof "period panties."

The Drum reports that the Ada Collection is named after Ada Lovelace, the woman who created the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. And despite criticism, the women participating felt they were doing the right thing:

Adda Birnir, founder of SkillCrush [seen below] admitted to Time that she did have doubts: “I run a company and you’re trying to have gravitas when you’re a CEO. I was a little bit like, ‘Is it a bad idea to participate in an underwear modelling shoot?'” 
“But it’s a feminist company…and I think it’s so important to support companies that are doing work like that. That overshadowed any of my concerns.”

These women are clearly not just models, but willing participants in whatever this is trying to say.

Adrants quotes Dear Kate CEO, Julie Sygiel: "I think a lot of traditional lingerie photo shoots depict women as simply standing there looking sexy. They're not always in a position of power and control. In our photo shoots it's important to portray women who are active and ambitious. They're not just standing around waiting for things to happen."

However the blog's author, Steve Hall, counters:
Hey, I'm all for women wearing underwear and lingerie as often as possible but when so many are doing so much to battle stigmas and stereotypes relating to the perception of women in the workplace -- and the world at large, this just smacks the face of logic.
I'm not so sure, though. While this could have come off like the European Union's appalling "Science: It's a Girl Thing" video, it just doesn't feel the same. The photos are contrived, sure, and even a little silly. But SOMEONE has to make and model underwear for women. Why not use the opportunity to also demonstrate and inspire female leadership in business and technology?

All images via Dear Kate

It's not really up to me to decide if this is good or bad for women overall, because I'm not a woman. In my opinion, this campaign doesn't feel degrading or objectifying. But I urge women readers to weigh in.