Media

Dec 6, 2010

Doggone, Fairfax suits up … Howes’ mixed message

Fairfax Media's ailing band of Melbourne suburban mastheads has a new mascot -- Wilbur Weekly -- a hulking promotional dog that attends community events to spruik the stable's offerings and hand out stickers to children. Plus, other media news tid bits.

Fairfax slave dog suits up -- no joke. Fairfax Media's ailing band of Melbourne suburban mastheads has a new mascot -- Wilbur Weekly -- a hulking promotional dog that attends community events to spruik the stable's offerings and hand out stickers to children. The canine, designed by in-house cartoonist Matt Golding, seems like a cute way to stave off circulation declines following the massive revenue hole ripped in the network by premium competitor The Weekly Review.

wilbur 3D back view colour

But staff were sent reeling recently when FCN marketing manager Allan Brodie sent around the following email offering hacks the opportunity to climb into the Wilbur suit to assist with his propaganda effort. The main problem being the sweaty work is completely unpaid. Writes Brodie:
As we move into 2011 and we now realise the potential of Wilbur, I am looking at volunteers that would be prepared to don the suit. There are some critical issues that must be addressed before you decide to put your name down.
  1. As this is an extension of our brand, you must adhere to Wilbur's guidelines e.g. no talking, respectful, punctual and have the ability to communicate with all ages.
  2. You will have to undergo a police check so those who are not comfortable with this, need not apply.
  3. You will be required to work weekends, with no extra pay, kilometre allowance or days off in lieu. This is purely a voluntary position.
  4. We will undergo some training as to how best communicate etc.
  5. Most events are locked in advance, so we should be able to give you a lot of notice.
I know this may seem like a joke, but I can assure you it isn't. Allan Brodie Marketing Manager Fairfax Community Network
Linda Grinter, from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, told Crikey she was "concerned about asking staff to work for free, whether it's in a dog suit or not". But Brodie was unrepentant, claiming that climbing into Wilbur for nix was a "great idea" and that he did it regularly. "It gives staff the opportunity to give up their own time for charity," he said. -- Andrew Crook Howes' gay marriage advocacy confused. Union kingmaker Paul Howes took to the Sunday tabloids yesterday to back the cause for gay marriage. While he acknowledged it wasn't "the most burning issue around", he outlined a colourful case for Labor to act now:
I HATE to be in agreement with some of the conservative commentators who write for this paper, but on the issue of gay marriage, I am in agreement with them. I am personally opposed to gay marriage and therefore I have decided that I am going to stay in my heteros-xual marriage. And that's my advice to all those people who are up in arms about the issue. If you don't like gay marriage: don't marry a gay person.
The Sunday Telegraph in Sydney appropriately headlined the piece: "Easy fix to stop marital discrimination". So did the sub down south at the Sunday Herald Sun bother to read it? Or did Howes' call not fit with the paper's stance?

6-12-2010 11-44-51 AM

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