Meat Bunnies – now that’s brand extension

You’re like me, aren’t you? You look in the fridge, and all you can see is a package of frankfurters. Hot dogs. Sausages. Processed meat in a casing. What to do? You can’t handle another hot dog. Not even a Coney Island special. Not a Chicago Style. Not a Detroit special. A New England Coney […]

Public consultation as Kabuki theatre

Barbara Faga is an urban planner who has participated in hundreds and hundreds of public meetings – meetings that attempt to build a dialogue among many different factions on a highly sensitive issue: what will be built/destroyed/grown/paved over near my house or business? Imagine two ferocious Not In My BackYard opponents chained together and locked […]

Secret civil servant code

Sorry folks – I’m going to interrupt with a little Ottawa civil servant code here. If you’re an IS-04 or IS-05, bilingual, and can answer the question “what is your favourite feed reader” – please send me an email at

Never Mind The Bollocks – Here’s Your Tote Bag

Thirty years of teenage angst. Thirty years of rage. Thirty years of commercial manipulation. It’s been thirty years since the Sex Pistols desecrated “God Save the Queen” – for the good of music and to add to the arsenal of expression available to citizens overlooked or oppressed by their government. It’s a pity that a […]

World Bank Launches Report in Second Life

Another international organization is hitting the beaches of Second Life. On October 26, the World Bank is releasing the latest report from the Doing Business group: “…“Second Life, as a global community with residents from more than 100 countries, is an ideal venue to host a virtual launch of a report that compares how easy […]

Twitter, Trivial Pursuit and McLuhan

Wow. A commentary on microblogging which manages to sneak in a 1980s AND a 1960s cultural reference: “Trivial Pursuits: With microblogging services, such as Pownce, Jaiku, Twitter, and Facebook, the mundane is the message.“ That’s the title and subhed of an article by Jason Pontin in the November/December MIT Technology Review. As if the Trivial […]

How to blow off your critics

What do you do when a review process goes horribly, horribly wrong? When the judges are just staring blankly past you, hoping that you’ll get the hint and leave? Sort of like any one of the first five episodes of every season of American Idol? Apparently, one option is a blowfish: “…Puff out your cheeks […]

Comms, PR and Marketing: is there a difference?

Depending upon the topic, it seems that people define the role of public relations practitioner, corporate communicator, and marketing fairly loosely. What exactly is the difference between the three distinct professions? This graphic tries to separate them by indicating specific “benefits” of working in marketing communications (like travelling on business, having access to Super Bowl […]

Office Politics 101

Taking up the challenge from UGA’s Karen Miller Russell that “PR bloggers would write about topic x,” I submit my guide to Office Politics 101 1. Read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. TWICE. 2. Never annoy the assistants in the office. They can make your life unbearable. 3. Identify the five […]

BBC adopts twitter for Rugby World Cup

Here it is , folks. One of the first effective media applications of Twitter. Two BBC reporters covering the Rugby World Cup are using Twitter as part of their reporter’s tool kit. And the BBC has done a very smart job of integrating their Twitter messages into the overall reporting package. Tom Fordyce and Ben […]

Stale retail help

“…And from the moment we opened the front door, we all agreed later, we knew we were in trouble. The very young woman at the desk had the anesthetized air of a Barneys salesgirl who had languished too long in Belts.” (NYTimes) That’s from Alex Witchel’s column of September 26, about a visit to a […]

Furthermore – where the conversation starts to go really wrong

Strumpette is being replaced by Furthermore. Like Eric, I had mixed feelings about the persona called Strumpette. There is a place in the world for effective and well-targeted satire. It’s usually most influential when focused on a particular issue or community – like Valleywag or Spy. Satire tends to fall apart and draw criticism when […]

Why would a flack push a bad interview with Sigur Ros?

A really meta-meta-meta moment: Luke Burbank, one of the hosts of NPR’s Bryant Park, really felt that an interview with Sigur Ros, the gifted but notoriously distant band from Iceland, went badly. Very badly. That’s because it did. It was painful. Why would Burbank have booked the band? Because a public relations hack called him […]

“Did someone here order a pizza?”

This may reveal what sort of programming I used to watch on 80s and 90s-era cable television, but I find the choice of ambient soundtrack for the DeLuca International Communications and Fundraising firm a little … distracting. Combined with the stock photo imagery used throughout the site, I keep expecting semi-revealing shots of Shannon Tweed […]

Some notes from music blogs

From a selection of songs about the working man, office life, and working in retail. From Matthew Dillon’s notebook: quotes from famous musicians, and Dillon’s riposte: George Clinton (b.1941) says – “I GET OFF ON FUNK, TO TELL THE TRUTH. DON’T TELL ME I CAN’T DO THAT. ‘CAUSE YOU KNOW HOW JOYFUL IT IS.” […]

Radiohead’s drop was not innovative

Yeah, yeah. Radiohead released their latest album on the net. Others – bands, good solo artists, bad solo artists – have done it before. “Radiohead’s true genius move here was cashing in on the leak.” That’s from a comment over at Stereogum. [tags] Radiohead, e-commerce, online sales, music [/tags]

The subtle details of food porn

How does an editor and a writer become a cook? That’s the premise of Bill Buford’s “Heat” – a book published in mid-2006. While I really enjoyed the book, one passage shed some light on the growing popularity of food porn: “…The new shows put a premium on presentation rather than knowledge and tended to […]

Bad ad placement – insurance for suicide?

I still don’t tire of how sophisticated algorithms can still mis-place ads – with shocking or chuckling consequences, depending upon your point of view. The insurance ad I’ve clipped here, asking how you would protect your family in the event of a catastrophe? Found it mid-story in a Slate article about the Wisconsin man who […]

Powerpoint wins Nobel Peace Prize

The results are in, and this year’s Nobel Peace Prize was won by Microsoft’s Powerpoint and Steve Jobs’ set designer. Oh, sorry. I meant to say Al Gore and the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It takes Mother Theresa forty thirty years, and Big Al only ten? Terry from Calcutta should have hired a […]

PR is dead? Really?

Let’s stop this facade, okay? Public relations is not dead. For the vast majority of the world – in terms of population AND landmass – public relations practitioners still have another five, ten or fifteen years of holding back information, constructing media events and counseling executives and technical experts to “stay on message” and “bridge” […]

An imperfect list of irritants

Colin Clarke is a British sociologist who happens to have a personal blog, and he asked his university class: “…‘What really gets on your tits?’ as I rather shockingly asked them (it was meant to come out as ‘what really gets on your nerves?’ but I think my own nerves got the better of me […]

Small thoughts

Kevin Smith, in Toronto to “whore out” his new book, thinks Canada’s retail sector is bush league: “…Yet for all his affection for this country (“I dig the socialized medicine and the crime statistics”) and his Canadian pals (including Jim Jackman, former producer of DeGrassi: The Next Generation) , he’ll never live here, thanks to […]

How wire rims bridged gaps in the market

Spinners or wire rims? It seems that spinners are winning the fashion wars, even in suburban Ottawa. Wire rims are back where they always belonged: on antique British roadsters and your grandfather’s Cadillac. Over the past fifteen years, Dayton Wire Wheels, a premier manufacturer of wire rims, has profited from the growing popularity of their […]

Who’s the new frontman for Van Halen?

Rockin’ axe. Check! Rollin’ drums. Check! Grungy concert t-shirt. Check! Bank of Marshall amps? Check! Extended walkway for outrageous on-stage antics and guitar solos? Check! Leather pants? Check! White pleather jacket with gold brocade and arm chevrons? Ummmmm. Short spiky hair? Jeeeeeez…….. Overextended leg kick? Phew, back on solid ground with that! It’s David Lee […]

XP – not to toot my own horn

… but I’ve written some interesting posts over at my other blog, They tend to concentrate on government communications, so I’ve stopped posting these sorts of ideas here at canuckflack. Still, I think they’re worth a gander: New recruits stumble on Facebook: how much embarrassment can your new employees bring to the office? Is […]

Chalk Signs – Corporate Promotion and Staff Uprising

Chalk signs. You know – chalkboard signs decorated with menus, promotional tag lines, simple price displays, usually found at grocery stores or restaurants – that rough and personalized touch that helps build a personal bond between you and your retailer. One Canadian company, Chalk It Up!, has created 400 boards since 2001, including 75 for […]

Paddington has your best interests at heart

Your childhood stuffed toy has been hijacked by consumer goods companies. That may not be a surprise to you, but it has irritated the hell out of the original illustrators of characters from the Snowman to Paddington Bear. (London Times, via Serendipity Book) “…[Raymond] Briggs complains that his iconic Snowman, with his soft curves and […]

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