The Globe's petting zoo opens for business
A few hours from now, scores of avid Globe and Mail readers will be climbing aboard a cruise ship for a fabulous Caribbean tour, in the presence of some of the Globe’s top drawing journalists and editors. For a few thousand dollars, well-heeled ink-stained thrill-seekers will have the chance to discuss federal politics with ROB Editor John Stackhouse, the Leafs with the Editor-in-Chief Phillip Crawley, gender politics with Peggy Wente, and Bay Street machinations with Andy Willis. All while tasting wine, sitting in a hot tub, devouring shrimp cocktails, and basking in the sun off St. Maarten. Talk about “submitting to arbitrary measures”.
For the newsmedia, this is a new tactic to build deeper relations with your readership. It’s also a bit of a departure, as mainstream newspapers generally frown on politicians that are seen to be selling access by $1,000/ticket cocktail fundraisers. How is this cruise any different?
For the Globe staffers that were pressed into service to turn it into a sell-out, they’re actually working this week. Fun as it may all sound. And those that brought along a spouse or family member may have to deal with Revenue Canada next year given the taxable benefit nature of the boondoogle.
As an idea, I’m not sure it sings. Journalists aren’t judges living in isolation, after all, even if they wield as much power and influence in our society. And even most judges mingle with the citizens of their precinct. But shipping your eye candy to a foreign country in the hopes of selling more product, along with a representative sample of your customers, is what the beer companies do; not newspapers. Except that Molson’s gives away those Maxim Magazine golf weekends.
This cruise is one marketing idea best shelved in the same place that Labatt’s hides that TV ad where the white-haired Ayrian-looking guy froze the beer.