Bay of Exploits with Ed Riche
From: Marie Vachon
Special Advisor 2nd Mandate Affairs
Prime Minister’s Office
To: Sophie Trembly
Canada 150 Coordination
Re: Brand 150, Symbols
The 150th anniversary of Confederation is upon us so we have to consider what national symbols the Government can lever to extend its “honeymoon” with the electorate. Recent economic numbers pose risks to our standing so we have to seize this opportunity to keep the party going. The CPC gong show and NDP’s existential crisis cannot make us complacent. The US election taught us that unemployed and underemployed voters can go crazy and consider voting against the establishment candidate, a troubling thought for “The Natural Governing Party.”
We’ve burnt through iconic images in the early days of Sunny Ways to a degree that many can’t be used again any time soon. We’ve seen the Prime Minister in a canoe so often now that there are worries that the image could become a joke (see August 14 memo concerning the Prime Minister going shirtless).
The Beaver, a once reliable symbol of Canada’s beginnings, is really about the fur trade. Might as well celebrate the seal hunt if you think about it. Besides, it’s a big rodent. How do we feel about Moose?
Market research tells us the first association most Canadians have with the Maple Leaf is Toronto’s hapless hockey team so it is strictly out of contention.
Further to Canada’s national game, former PM Harper appropriated hockey with enough success that there are lingering associations. We also don’t want to risk pointing out that the NHL is an American entertainment business run out of New York. Besides Gary Bettman would fleece us for the rights.
Cowboy hats remind Albertans of guys from Ontario that ran the place for the oil companies and left it a smouldering ruin.
Anything to do with our colonized and marginalized aboriginal people smacks of cultural appropriation (see July 2 memo regarding Prime Minister’s tattoo) and is to be avoided at all cost. Needless to say they won’t be celebrating with us.
Steer clear of Maritime themed stuff like lobsters and lighthouses while we are in the process of stripping the Atlantic Provinces of power within the confederation. Newfoundland and Labrador hasn’t been with us for the full 150 and most of their symbols are already clichés locally so we can, thankfully, continue to pretend they don’t exist.
Especially with rumblings of NAFTA indigestion coming from south of the border we really have to celebrate Canada having lower taxes on business than almost any jurisdiction in the G20. Really cheap consumer goods made in Mexico and China do make our nation great.
Quebec blackmailing the rest of country is a generally known condition, but it’s difficult to imagine a family-friendly image representing it.
Massive pipelines using billions of gallons of freshwater to force tarry sludge to the United States is very Canadian, but we can’t see any interesting ways of representing it graphically.
The most positive associations for Canada during audience testing came when sample groups were shown an image of Donald Trump, but marketing Canada as not being the United States is fraught with problems.
Poutine is safe. Poutine we like. Thoughts?