Deconstructing the Gay Consumer

You could make the argument, at least in the Western world, that corporations have been ahead of public policy in recognizing equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people (LGBT). In jurisdictions where governments have been timid, a great many employers offer protection against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. At the same time, marketing […]

Does the Web Build Bridges or Fortresses?

One of the hot debates in communication studies relates to the power of the internet to shape and change attitudes. Does the web broaden peoples’ views or make them more polarized? There are two dominant schools of thought: selective exposure theory states that people tend to favour information that reinforces pre-existing views and to avoid […]

Truth and Reconciliation, Corporate-Style

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not everyone’s cup of tea but there’s no denying the concept is catching on. From Molson Coors Canada’s “responsible drinking” campaign to Ben and Jerry’s Caring Dairy program, CSR adherents are trying to tie good deeds to business interests. Many of these initiatives are eminently worthwhile. Very few reflect profound […]

Mapping a sacred space

I received a delightful email today from Charlene Dy, a creative soul living in Vancouver. Charlene read my book, Where Is Here: Canada’s Maps and the Stories They Tell, and was struck by how First Nations groups used maps as a way of communicating their understanding of the world, and by how hobos used chalk-drawn maps […]

When it’s better to keep your selling points hidden

Late in 2009, Nestlé issued a press release in the UK to announce a fair-trade version of its Kit Kat candy bar. Traditional print media picked it up, but it didn’t attract much buzz on the internet. A few months later, Greenpeace created a graphic video parody of the Kit Kat campaign showing an office worker […]