Keeping it Real…

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Of Panago and Politics

April 11th, 2009 · 8 Comments

So there we were, watching the hockey game … a perfect excuse for pizza: and what could be better, we thought, than that Panago Frugalicious Special … a medium sized pizza, shown on tv  brimming from edge to edge with pepperoni… hardly any space uncovered!  Mmmm!

So we ordered  … two, in fact … the $8 each bill still working out, with tax, delivery fee and tip, to well over $20. But after all, they looked terrific ….  in the tv ad.

What we received, however, was something less than advertised. We had asked, just like in the ad, for the pepperoni to be placed on top, but there was no “brimming” here. :)  What we got were two pizzas, averaging two to three rounds of pepperoni on each slice … with lots of  space in between, clearly not as their pizza had appeared in their t.v. ad.

But that’s advertising today: too often “hyped”;  quite often deceptive; and yes, some would even say,  just lies.  And our Panago ”experience” seems too often to be more the norm than the exception.

Has anyone ever been served a Subway sandwich that looks like the overstuffed sub in their advertising? When was the last time your Big Mac looked as high as the Big Mac in the ads.. the bun separated by a huge mass of meat, cheese and veggies … and special sauce, of course?

Which brings me to the political ads/claims I’ve seen lately.

The Liberals have been running a “Keep BC Strong”  t.v. ad boasting of  the strength of British Columbia over the past 8 years under their watch … “from being THE WEAKEST  economy in Canada to one of the strongest.”

The WEAKEST IN CANADA???  Show me the figures … not just one or two specific temporary anomalies … but the real comprehensive annual  statistics that say BC was THE WEAKEST IN CANADA overall  before I’ll buy that!

And what about now .. didn’t the latest unemployment figures this week show BC had fully a third of the 60,000 job losses across the country in March?  Hmmm!

Which brings me to the NDP.

The ink on my printout of the latest Stats Canada unemployment figures was still wet when the NDP sent out a Press release “Record Job Losses Prove Campbell’s Failed Leadership”.

“Almost 80,000 full-time jobs have been lost since the beginning of the year. We have the worst record of job losses in the country. Clearly Gordon Campbell’s economic plan has been a failure,” concluded NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston.

Ho hum!   Seems to me I’ve read somewhere there has been kind of a slowdown in the U.S. and global economy. Housing construction down to almost nothing; resource demand plummeting world-wide, consumers hibernating when it comes to major purchases etc etc.

Is it really Gordon Campbell’s “economic plan” that has been responsible?

The truth, I suspect, is that BC’s economy is very much tied to world/U.S. economy/resource demands. Plain and simple. True, different governments can deal with these realities differently … but in my view, our economy is  highly reactive to world/U.S. demand, regardless of which party is in power.

And there are also those BC Teachers’ t.v. ads that say children with special needs in our schools are “still neglected”.   Really?  Neglected?  Or underfunded in terms of services or fully meeting needs? I suspect it’s the latter.

But no matter, right? It’s only advertising and press releases, where superlatives rule … everything is the BEST or the WORST ever. (I’m still waiting for this year’s  New, Improved annual soap suds offerings!)

Of course, the reason they do it is advertising works.  It creates a perfect impression, an ideal vision of YOUR product, along with, especially in political ads, a disdain  or fear of the competition.

And in Canada these days, I don’t see any real concerted effort to ensure most everyday advertising is true.

So I expect we’ll keep seeing lots of it … some true, some lies, most of it exaggerated … all designed to convince us to BUY the product.

And we will … even though we know that most of us will end up feeling cheated, because what will ultimately be delivered won’t likely meet the hype promised in the ads.

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stacey D // Apr 11, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Nice writing style. I look forward to reading more in the future.

    (Response: Thanks for noticing. You know, although most remember me for my 26 years at BCTV, I actually started as a print journalist (12 years) and still see myself in that regard. It saddens me when I see the poor quality of “writing” that passes for t.v journalism these days ..no imagination, no style and increasingly, no knowledge of background. Thanks again for noticing I try! h.o.)

  • 2 DMJ // Apr 11, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Canada and BC has extremely poor “truth in advertising” laws and anyone can say almost anything, short of libel or slander, when advertising.

    Not so elsewhere.

    In the UK, a transit group sued a government department for misleading advertising an a transit project and won. Damages were awarded!

    This reminds me of Susan’s Heye’s lawsuit where the pro RAV/Canada line advertising was and is (the premier claims 200,000 single car trips will be taken off the road every day by RAV) lobby’s claimed were stuff and nonsense.

    I do not see any change in the near future because with truth in advertising legislation, the government could not lie to the people!

  • 3 Norman F // Apr 12, 2009 at 5:57 am

    My wife and I decided long ago to never order food in a restaurant with pictures on the menu. Those perfect photos use strange methods and additives to make foods look luscious and irresistible. Motor oil, glycerin, glue, cardboard and shoe polish are parts of the food stylist’s toolkit. The picture may look perfect but you can bet the actual food will not. Disappointment is the only possibility.

    Politics is like that too. Practitioners are expert in deception, distraction and obfuscation. They go before the public fully scripted and rehearsed, carefully coiffed and strictly supervised. Parties don’t want original thought, they want memorized talking points, repeated without change. Ethics and honesty are nothing. Loyalty and tractability are everything.

    The reality is lies are told through cowardice. The restaurateur who mistrusts his food, shows you a photo of something dazzling even if unachievable. Politicians readily make popular statements but bite their tongues about hard truths. They so often avoid veracity that they grow comfortable with lying.

    Gordon Campbell promised to respect legally negotiated collective agreements before the election, then afterward overturned contracts to prevent pay equity, remove retiree’s pension benefits and fire thousand of public servants. He promised not sell BC Rail and then transferred it to financial supporters in a process that appears rigged. He promised full cooperation in investigating internal corruption then established roadblocks to prevent access to public records. He promised unprecedented transparency in government but ignored the Auditor General’s calls for full disclosure of Olympic costs. Campbell said about $600 million would be spent on the games. The Auditor General puts the spending at $2,500 million. Vaughn Palmer says maybe $6,000.

    Clearly, politicians ruling our province are like the chain restaurants who offer pretty pictures but serve greasy slop. Should we accept that without complaint?

    (Response: So true, and so frustrating. The only hope I have is that by exposing fraudulent advertising, political lies, broken promises etc we at least shine the spotlight on some of it … and maybe, just maybe, slow it down or limit it. Just imagine what things would be like we said/did nothing. h.o.)

  • 4 genuine // Apr 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Yes I agree, just like our view from the ledge ,not much of a view ,just another stone wall,or the bill good show, its really bad, and somebody shut that christie clark partisan cheerleader right up for bill boring to say that that whole radio station is not partisan is a complete lack of respect to listeners i I’m neither ndp or liberal,and will vote elementary,(ABC) anybody but campbell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 5 LP // Apr 12, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Campbell takes credit for a hot economy? HA HA.
    The economy was going to be hot because of the Yanks. Doesn’t matter who is/was at the helm in Victoria. Canadians are destined to ride the wave because our economy is so closely tied to the successes, and failures of the u.s.
    Critical thinking is the only method to employ when wading through the P.R. b.s.
    Campbell lied about so many things. What else is new?
    The fact of the matter is we the voters allowed him and others like him to perpetuate the myths that spews forth from their mouths.
    Our responsibility as voters does not end when we place our mark on the voter’s ballet.
    We have to remain active in the process right up and until the next election.
    Instead of bitching to your neighbour, pick up the phone. Write a letter. Stop participating in those stupid twisted telephone polls.
    Take back your legislature! Make them work for you. Isn’t that how it is suppose to be?

  • 6 Tony M // Apr 12, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    When the Liberals take credit for the good things in the economy, and frankly came to power by blaming everything that happened in the 1990s on the NDP, then damn right they should be expected to take responsibility when things go bad.

    Especially when a lot of what’s happened in the forest industry can be directly tied back to blunders by this government. Forestry still drives the rural economy, after all. Or at least it used to before this group came around.

  • 7 RS // Apr 13, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Gotta love it! Panago Politics. Way to coin a phrase HO.

    Throw on the flood lights HO.

  • 8 A. G. Tsakumis // Apr 14, 2009 at 6:03 am

    From now on, call Olympia Pizza on Broadway. The best pie this side of the bridge, or Marcello’s on Commercial, if you’re east, or Lombardo’s if you’re downtown.

    I won’t touch pizza in this town from anywhere else.

    Panago, is WELL beneath you!

    (Response: Think I should stick to salad! Better for me and I don’t like it ..so if it falls short, and I throw some away, that would still be ok! LOL! h.o.)