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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Iron's Hot, Where's The Hammer?

Let's be blunt here:

Canadian National Pride is at an all-time high.


For the first time in a long time, as a country, we're holding our heads high.

Can you feel it?

Maybe it's just me but I've been out there talking to strangers again and it's palpable.

Whether it's Vindication or Validation, I'm not sure.

But Canadians are PROUD again.

Like, vocally.

So, my message to my fellow Canadian creatives and business-types is simply this:

Get out there and bang the drum.

Show'em Canadian stories. Show'em what we've got in the pipeline (heh)!

Show'em we've got more coming, just you wait!

Then preview and hint and leak and promote the fuck out of it.

The goal is simple: Keep that attention, then harness it and focus it.

CTV, you did a great job with the Olympics (hell of a lot better than NBC), you earned those eyeballs. Even got to keep a whole bunch of them.

You promoted Hiccups and Dan For Mayor while almost the entire damned country was watching and you got great returns. People showed up en masse to check out what you've got up your sleeve.

The proof is there: Canadians WANT Canadian content. We want to be entertained by Canadians who know what Canadians like. Who get our sense of humour.

Who are us.

Yes, I really believe there's an unanswered hunger out there. And I find it completely unacceptable that it hasn't been sated.

So here's what I wanna see -- laugh at me or whatever but I'll put it out there unashamed:

I wanna see Brett Butt and Mark Farrell on TV and radio pimping their shows like crazy. Promo pieces in magazines and the newspaper.

I wanna see pictures of the cast and crew of Being Erica or Republic Of Doyle or 18 To Life beaming with pride.

Actors too. Where's Heartland's Amber Marshall? Why isn't she singing the national anthem at hockey games or showing up on CP24 Breakfast or The Hour or something?

She's a fresh face and she's got a growing following. Why isn't she everywhere?

I want to see CTV and CBC and Global generating buzz for upcoming shows. Do that thing where you preview 5 mins of a Canadian show on broadcast TV in prime time. Or leak it online ahead of time.

I wanna see interviews with famous Canadian musicians who're guest-starring or who've written songs for (or are premiering new songs on) upcoming episodes of shows.

Promoting it all weeks ahead of time. Building buzz for something cool they get to do on the show, or for fans to be the first to hear a new song on that ep.

Remember the buzz that How I Met Your Mother had 'cause they brought in Britney Spears? Hell, I'd contend that she helped to save the show -- even if only in the capacity that she drew people's eyeballs to the screen long enough for people to realize 'holy crap, this show is great'.

Why not get Nelly Furtado on Flashpoint? Or Avril on Being Erica? Sure, there's not a scandal backing them like Britney had, but it's something. I know it's an old trick, but maybe we can dust it off and add a Canadian spin to it. Freshen it up. Cross-promote and then bang the drum as loud as we can.

We've got some of the best writers and actors and directors and crew in North America, why are we not utilizing them?

Why are people like Michael Roy of Telefilm shitting all over Canadian actors instead of pushing them to the forefront and proudly backing them to the bank?

Why aren't Canadian shows teaming with Canadian Musicians and Canadian Fashion labels and Canadian Tech companies and Canadian Food brands to build each other up, together?

Where's the website for Heartland that says 'Hey, like Amy Fleming's blouse? It's made by Canadian fashion label 'so and so' and you can buy it here!' or download the song from the show here then listen to others by the artist here; Or click here to get a special coupon for a free Mr. Sub sandwich? Or horse-shoeing... I dunno.

But it'd be a start.

Frankly I think it's bullshit that this stuff isn't already being tapped and up and running. These are viable economic streams that 'business men' should be actively pursuing. Maybe they're not huge streams right now, but that's what brand building is all about.

Build EVERYONE up at the same time.

Build an industry that helps itself and is self-sustaining.

Cross-pollinate and everyone wins. Musicans, actors, brands, producers... Canadians.

Sure, it takes time. And it's hard. And people are fickle. And we're not all the same race/culture/language/blah, blah.

That's life in Canada.

But every success builds on the last one.

It's hard but it gets easier with time.

Jam that shovel into the ground and keep digging.

Then again, hey, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. It's entirely possible that my ideas are crap, they've all been tried and failed horribly. Maybe they've been doomed to the big box of Fail in the corner, never to be tried again.

I dunno, but I certainly haven't heard much about stuff like this going on.

So maybe it's worth a shot?

We've got their attention, let's keep the plates spinning.

I'm open to good ideas.

Whatcha say?


EDIT: Props to Amber Marshall who, apparently, has her own clothing line!

Not sure if it's all made in Canada or what, but hey, she's got a good idea and is making it happen. Why CBC missed the train here, I dunno. But it's a damned shame.

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