On the way to the bus stop today, my husband mentioned that I needed to see a really bad advertisement that's up there right now. It was an ad for the excellent, multimillion-dollar Farmers' Market renovation.
Sure, the ad was a boring stock photo, but I didn't think it was that bad... until I noticed the American money and a few more really unfortunate details. It was bad enough to return photograph this afternoon:
Poster promoting Hamilton Farmers Market
This brings us to a segment we like to call "Really!?! With Meredith & Jarod". Although adapted to suit our favourite SNL format, this has been changed only slightly from our actual conversation.
Meredith: Really, Hamilton Farmers' Market? The city paid for this ad? Really?
Jarod: Wow. They're using a stock photo with American money in an ad for our Farmers' Market? And we wonder why this city has an image problem.
Meredith: Really! I know this city has a few issues, but most of us still know we're in Canada. At least for now.
Jarod: And really, Hamilton Farmers' Market, is it all about the seniors' discount? Nothing wrong with the white-haired crowd, but tell me, how is that responding to your consultants' report in 2007 saying you need to appeal to younger shoppers? Could they not have got, oh, I don't know, a stock photo with grey-haired models? Even salt and pepper? Really?
Meredith: Really! And, also, how about those dairy cases in the background? Apparently our Farmers' Market is in the middle of a grocery store. In America. Next to the seniors' centre.
Jarod: Oh sure, from the outside it looks like you get two-way conversion and a glass curtain, but according to these ads, the inside is all about chrysanthemums and dried prunes. Whoo!
Meredith: What I want to know is... who set the cost for this ad? We finally get a multi-million dollar reno - on time, on budget, and high quality ... and then someone says, "You know what, I think we can do the ad for less than my lunch combo cost - and that was Arby's 5 for $5!"
Meredith: If that little voice tells you, "We could get our high-school co-op student to make this ad!" don't think it's a cost-saving stroke of brilliance. Don't.
Jarod: Don't! Although some students could do a better job than that. Really!
Meredith: And listen, boss: if you see a guy who spends most of his time on Farmville and playing with his iPhone, don't assume this employee represents that "younger" demographic you want to attract. He's the guy who'll do the worst cut and paste job! At least you know - or should know - what the renovations are going to look like.
Jarod: And really, who had to give this project the final OK? Who said "Yes, this is how I want people to think of Hamilton!"?
Meredith: Give me a break. Even the guy putting this up in the bus shelter must have thought, "Huh, I didn't know the market was a Mecca for American shoppers, or that this city's been mysteriously transplanted to the Midwest."
Jarod: So, just to give a word of advice, if you ever see American money in an ad, make sure it's for something in America. If it's for something in Hamilton, let's make sure we have Canadian money. Unless they secretly want to attract Niagara Falls' runoff? I can just see the new packages: "Visit the casino! Then buy some eggplant!" I mean, really! We have more than just waterfalls here! We don't need to do that! We don't! Really!
Jarod: I mean, really!
Jarod: Really, this cannot happen again. So, from now on, here's the plan: When this city has the time and money do a truly amazing project, and make it look incredible, and even streetscape and add a scramble intersection... Don't drop the ball on advertising. Spend more than five bucks on the photograph. Don't do a shoddy cut-and-paste stock photo job. Even hire somebody to take a photograph of the actual market. Even the outside of it.
Meredith: Really! But you know who else is rude? I mean, really! L_____ F_____ - Oh, what's that? We can't say that name on TV anymore?
Announcer: This has been "Really!?! With Meredith and Jarod."
Jarod: We'll be right back with more "Update", after these commercial breaks! Stick around!
We stop the transcript here to protect the identity of certain pink flamingos