Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another Winnipeg Free Press Cash Grab

Today was the release of the Fall issue of Wave Magazine, "Winnipeg's Health & Wellness Magazine"; a product of the combined efforts of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the advertising department of the Winnipeg Free Press.

What a shock that at a time when people are concerned over the potential harm that could erupt from H1N1 virus, the hungry Free Press ad reps come up with another winning model for revenue. This smells equally as rotten as the much anticipated, but highly disappointing insert they ran called "We Believe in Winnipeg." That piece was supposed to be a pullout insert that each week featured different success stories of Manitoba businesses across various industries. Instead it turned out to be nothing more than a double-page spread make work project for the editorial staff, feeding off the marketing dollars of the businesses highlighted in the articles.

The "We Believe in Winnipeg" advertorial was suspiciously timed with the rollout of the "Selling Winnipeg to the World" spearheaded by the team at the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce - a time when there was much buzz in the Winnipeg business community over the potential to increase the profile of Winnipeg to the world based on a handful of major projects which included CentrePort Canada. Only after a large number of Chamber members berated Chamber VP Chuck Davidson at a regular "coffee-break session" with the Chamber, did they finally admit that the "We Believe" weekly edition was born from the ad department at WFP rather than the editorial department or the Chamber themselves. My guess is that these same opportunists called the WRHA with the same sales pitch to capitalize on the fear of many Winnipeggers and Winnipeg business owners.

If the purpose of the magazine was simply to educate the public on the "health threat of the day", the Free Press and WHRA could have easily accomplished this through a series of monthly or quarterly articles, coupled with a dedicated information page on both websites. However, the ads just look better in a glossy, 8.5" x 11" bi-monthly mag.

Its your turn Winnipeg...shake your addiction to print!

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