Monday, April 23, 2012

Outlaw ROBO calls

If there is one thing made very clear during the Alberta Provincial Election in 2012, is that those robo calls suck. And that is perhaps way too polite of a way of saying it.

These calls can be information based, or survey based. And they are well worth it, cost wise, to the folks trying to mass market something. However my right to privacy and to not be harassed, far outweighs marketers rights to information at reduced costs.

When you get these types of calls, you have NO clue if they are who they say they are... And if they want answers to questions, you have no right to offer anything other than a selection of canned answers, usually tuned to give results the caller wants.

I want to know who I am talking to, I want to question what it is about.

And I do NOT want to be hung up on if I don't give an answer you don't like... such as "Are you going to vote for 'x' party?" and you say no, the phone gets slammed down. Excuse me but that is just freaking rude. And I am tired of it.

Change the laws...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

And more Marketing

Recently the City of Edmonton announced how PCL was contracted to do "stuff" for the proposed downtown arena, and with the Provincial election under way the blog posts are appearing all over.

Recently, Mack Male posted some interesting items under a title of More power and money to cities in Alberta? I don’t believe you! In his blog, he quotes the various parties positions on Provincial help for cities, and then suggests that what those parties said doesn't hold some form of "truth factor" with respect to the arena.

With all due respect to Mack... the parties stances on not supporting taxpayers funds going into a billionaires pocket, is 100% smack on.

Now... if Katz was actually putting the majority of the funds into this project from his own pocket, and wanted some assistance to make up the rest, then there would be a valid cause for discussion. However as time has gone on, the citizens of Edmonton have come to the conclusion that we have been hood winked by the process, what we were told Katz was going to be putting in has been whittled down to a few bucks here and there on an annual basis rather than up front, and the City will have to borrow the money for him to "pay back" instead. And then there is the issue of the City going into an "advertisement" agreement which for the most part almost totally negates any pennies Katz will be putting in.

In the mean time, the City is forging ahead with plans to attempt to use the magical abstraction of taking money from one hand and putting it into another hand and calling it "new" money. Or, as some say... its the "CRL" side. The mystical and magical projection of future taxes INCLUDING the educational portion of taxes, being used to pay for this.

And of course, no one in this supposed CRL zone will ever have the need for City services, like the rest of us pay taxes for. No need to cost out things like fire or police responses. There will be no fires or crime that will consume tax dollars, so we can divert all those new and 'adjusted' taxes into the arena. And we most certainty have all of the money in the world up our yin-yang for the rest of the citizens of the Province to add more money from the robbed educational component. Remember, if the City steals a million dollars of education tax per year (or whatever it works out to) the Province will just raise the rate that all taxpayers pay, to cover the loss.

Let us also not be blindsided by the City saying this will "only" be $450 million dollars. They promise there will be no cost over runs... (yeah, right... just like they promised there would be no dollars spent until all of the funding is in place... and I am guessing that at least $100 million has already been spent).

Since when has a politician ever told the truth? Clearly the City of Edmonton has not. And the provincial parties can see the writing on the wall. After all, they are politicians too and can smell the bullshit here because they are all too familiar with the smell.

So for those who take a political stance and say "no" to the arena funding... kudos. There is no valid reason in the world for taxpayers to be literally funding 100% of this arena project, and not get one penny of revenue from it. Remember folks, Katz can walk away from this at ANY time, by simply selling the team.

Like sports owners never sell teams, right?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Political Marketing Part 2

I didn't envision myself adding on to the previous post, however too many things are coming out, especially within the twitter side of social media, and I see people falling for the trap and not thinking.

In Edmonton, examples of past traps have been City Council coming out of the blue to do something that was never envisioned or discussed or talked about during an election campaign as in "I have this agenda". Because if we actually knew about that agenda chances are we never would have voted for that person. Mayor Mandel wanted to close the airport... many say for personal and business reasons for his developer buddies... but how do you do that?

Wait until you are elected, bring it up and push it through... is how. But use all kinds of reasons that make no sense, just as long as you follow the letter of the law. The logic of actually doing the right thing never applies after all, as long as you follow the law. And Mandel did. He held the required public hearings. The ones where he yawned, fiddled, paid no attention, got pissed when valid arguments were presented, tried to silence people, etc. And then ignored what was said and did what he wanted anyway.

The media fell for it, with probably the worst offender being the use of the Edmonton Journal "columnists" using their clout on front page of section 2... having opinions being presented that looked like news articles. Of course, the Journals comments were "but they have their picture shown so that identifies them as a columnist and not a reporter". Oh.. really? I wonder how many people actually knew that. I certainly did not. Due note, they continue this practice to this day, and don't have the balls to actually PUT the words "opinion column" in the paper. I wonder why... it seems so simple (and correct) to do...

And then the next election comes along and mysteriously out of the blue Edmonton suddenly needs a new arena, spouting that it's all just talk, don't worry, nothing will happen until all of the funds are in place and blah blah blah.Strange how that changed along the way huh?

And now in the provincial election there is this thing coming up about how some parties will do the "free vote" thing, and "but if everyone has a free vote then how can an agenda be sneaked in?" ..

"Yes Assembly, I vote FOR this legislation because the majority of my constituents have expressed their opinion on this matter to be this way".

On the surface, it is what it is right? But what about under the surface? How can you possibly KNOW what they are saying is indeed the truth? And if its one of those hotly contested issues then all they have to say is "it was close, but 55% of my constituents said to vote this way". And you have no proof nor could you ever hope to get proof.

In Edmonton's case, we have a council that voted to close a critical need airport for medivac purposes, and a spineless provincial government that never had the balls to step in and say "Hey wait a minute... you are not allowed to close the most critical runway on that airport that medivac requires". Consequently a baby from Grande Prairie died, most likely as a direct result of that runway not been available when needed. I suspect there is more but of course, we aren't allowed to know because of privacy.

And we may very well be stuck with literally a 100% tax payer funded arena complex, where a billionaire rakes in 100% of the profits.

I see no party standing up to say the "laws" need to be changed to serve the public interests. Perhaps that's because they want those laws to remain to protect their private interests. Especially when it comes to "free votes".

I know it hurts to open your eyes and think. Perhaps it's time to take a little pain, for your children's futures.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Political Marketing

I know this is a crazy thing to say, but I've been spending some serious time mentally analyzing a huge range of commercials on tv the past 6 months or so. Some have been pretty snappy on the surface, and honestly offer you something you might be interested in. Others are designed to attract your attention to cute or sexy or "omg how adorable was that". And some are just clearly outright deceptive in design.... but only if you take the time to think about it.

And this is what marketing people do. Do note, this blog post is NOT about bashing anyone in the marketing profession, they are hired to do a job. How they proceed is based on the client's wishes and the amount of money they wish to spend on the job.

I am sure everyone can relate to the Telus ads. All cute creatures, designed to entice the animal lovers and kids and look "oh so hip". Have you noticed, the majority of these ads will typically feature things in sets of three? Watch any of the design type shows, and you always here that "three" is the magic number for balance, eye catching, etc etc. So the question here is... do you want to be trapped into a 3 year contract (geez, that number just came up again), with a company who wrote that contract to be totally in their favor? Have you read the fine print? Do you have to sign the contract to get things installed... only to find out you are on "twisted pair" lines and you will never get the speeds promised? Did you read the part that they will do the best they can, but there are no promises? .. Oh, what about those free perks and equipment? *cough*.. free, because the cost plus profit are already built into the cost of that 3 year plan.  .. Oh... seriously.. you honestly thought they were free?

Another spiffy one is the Enmax commercial. You know.. why sign with anyone else? Why get a contract? After all, you can easily cancel with one months notice, right? And the dude... his horse... the outdoorsy feeling. The cute smile. God, you just HAVE to go for that, right? Well, if you don't sign a contract for a fixed rate, they clearly know prices are going to go nowhere but UP. So with no contract, in the end, you will probably pay a lot more and THEY aren't locked into that price. And the one months notice thing? Well, how many times have you moved, and remembered at the start of the month to give 30 days notice? And if your billing period isn't the start of the month? Or... you get the pleasure of getting out a week or two early from the old place, then what. Yep.. YOU are responsible for the entire bill for 30 days. Pretty cool huh? Even with other utilities, cable, etc... most will generally drop you with a couple of days notice without an issue. NOT SO here.

Ok ok.. politics... that's what drew you here in the first place.

History has proven we get promises up the ying-yang and then. You know.

So why in the world would you think this election will be any different? Oh sure, the people are more involved but that just means what "they" tell you will be much more guarded. In concept, we simply do not trust. And when it comes to the Wild Rose party, remember the issues. Who do you hear from? The candidates seem to be under a gag order. I've heard from many who were within their system and left, who all say the same thing. And generally not good things. We have religion and abortion and private health care and backing from what many say are the "big oil" folks. Oh yes, and the promise to send YOU money too! Free money, as it were. And to that point I can only say "remember what Klein did"... sold our storage and gas sites, and then allowed private enterprise to control them. Remember, ATCO would buy surplus natural gas in the summer, to give better rates in the winter. And does that happen anymore? Nope.

And the PC party, promising to be SO good to the people. Um... like you have been in the past?  Arg, I don't even want to go there, I'm not smart enough to co-relate all of those things.

THE bottom line here is this. Are you going to continue to be sucked in by these ads, keeping your head buried in the sand because its just TOO hard to think about your families future? Is it not time to actually *think* about the consequences?

For me, I would love to see a minority government. The main reason is that no matter what party you choose to deal with, they have either little experience or they have too many that you just can't trust. Clearly the PC folks have the experience but I believe they lack the trust factor. The Wild Rose have little experience and from the looks of things they have a very low trust factor as well. The Alberta Party is a wishful dream that will make little inroads.

That leaves the NDP with Mason and the Liberals with Sherman. Both struggling to stand up strong, both with experience.

To have either the PC's or the Wild Rose in a majority, would in my opinion, destroy Alberta. Politicians need to be taught a lesson... and a minority government would at least give all citizens the ability to be heard. We definitely have not been heard nor will be heard by a majority win.

Choose wisely, think with caution and wisdom...