Unfortunate Connotations


Proof that some people in marketing don’t think things through…

Bissel has a new product out called OxyKIC, which supposedly gets out tough stains such as grape juice, cola and red wine. To illustrate this, they commissioned a commercial wherein personifications of grape juice, cola and red wine are kicked out of a house and rendered homeless.

The personifications are somewhat disreputable looking individuals who have been painted purple, caramel brown and red. The actor playing Mr. Grape Juice is obviously black, however, and the homeowner is white. That kicks off the commercial’s unfortunate connotations from the get-go.

Consider: Bissel OxyKIC! We kick coloured people out of your home neighbourhood, keeping your home and neighbourhood nice and pure and white.

White hood and burning crosses optional.

Back to the drawing boards, guys!

Paid to Write

The news here has been pretty good so far this week. Erin, I’m pleased to announce, has won another major writing grant, this one from the Ontario Arts Council. This will support us while she works half time and continues work on her book of Biblical poems. Her poetry life is also becoming more active, with more readings this month, and a trip to Toronto tomorrow to help out with festivities around the Great Ontario Book Break.

This plus the Denney this past Saturday should help convince Erin that she is a professional poet.

Things continue to be busy for me, here, although I have been making slow but steady progress on the :Trenchcoat Farewell Project:. One of my paid web jobs has borne fruit. Visit the ConnectKW Website to see some of what I’ve been doing over March. My friend and co-worker Todd Turnbull supervised this project and had a lot to do with the site’s design and style, but I’m still pleased with myself over how good it looks.

I’m developing a pretty decent web portfolio. I’ve logged everything (plus links to friends’ sites that I host, rather than design) at the new Clarksbury.com, which is itself a test of my webdesign skills. If you need a site put up on the web, consider my services, won’t you?

It’s That Time of Year Again!

This was this year’s entry in my rapidly-becoming-annual April Fools joke played on the good folks of the Transit Toronto mailing list and Urban Toronto.

Apr. 1, 2004. 09:58 AM

Mike Harris Named Head of New GTA Transit Authority


TORONTO: In his third annoucement in as many days regarding the future of public transit in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty announced the creation of a Greater Toronto Transit Authority to oversee all transit organizations operating within the GTA. He went further by announcing that the new agency would be chaired by none other than former Ontario premier Mike Harris.

“I am happy to announce that Mr. Harris will be the head of this new organization,” said McGuinty earlier this morning. “His brash leadership style will be important in forging a regional system that gets passengers from A to B as efficiently as possible.”

“I realize most people don’t equate me as a supporter of public transit,” said Harris, who eliminated all provincial subsidies for public transportation in 1996, only to partially reinstate them four years later, “but the truth is, I’ve always wanted to run a public transit agency, ever since my parents refused to get me a model train set.”

The announcement was met with considerable surprise by those in attendance. “It’s certainly a bold move on the premier’s part,” said transit activist Avril Fowler. “I’ll be interested in what ideas Mike Harris brings to the table.”

Ms. Fowler and others didn’t have to wait long, for Mr. Harris used the podium to lay out his initial plans.

“The truth is that public transit has had to do far more with less over the past decade,” said Mr. Harris. “The TTC alone needs $3.8 billion over the next ten years just to keep its current service levels, and $3.5 billion for expanding the subway network. By far, the largest expense on the TTC’s books is the need to replace aging buses and expand its fleet. New buses cost a half-a-million per vehicle, but if you take an old vehicle, clean it up inside, remove the engine and hook up a harness, you could have two homeless people pulling the thing for a fraction of the cost.”

While Harris’ announcement was met with scepticism by some, others noted that his idea just might work. Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, in attendance for the announcement, said she didn’t see service suffering by the new method of propulsion. “Burnhamthorpe Road is chock solid with cars and buses at all hours of the day. Two homeless people pulling a loaded bus could easily keep up with traffic.”

Toronto Mayor David Miller was cautiously optimistic: “I just hope that the individuals pulling the bus are paid on a per-passenger basis rather than a per-population basis. It doesn’t seem fair that someone struggling to pull a full bus up the Avenue Road hill should be paid the same as someone pulling an empty bus downhill — though there are medical expenses to consider. These vehicles will still have brakes, right?”

Dalton McGuinty was unavailable for comment after the announcement, as he was looking behind sofas for spare change to pay off the provincial deficit.

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