Embarrassing ad screw-up won’t cost taxpayers

OPINION

By Scott Costen

A full-colour, half-page ad in yesterday’s South Shore Breaker named the wrong headliner and opening act for the April 12, 2019, country music event at Queens Place Emera Centre (QPEC) in Liverpool.

It’s the kind of screw-up that might cause confusion, if not consternation, among music fans. It could also reduce public confidence in Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) staff and erode whatever shred of credibility the Breaker currently enjoys. (It is, after all, a glorified flyer vessel that’s tossed unceremoniously on people’s driveways.)

In an email to the Observer, Shawn Patterson, provincial sales manager for the Chronicle Herald’s weekly publications, said the ad snafu “is the Breaker’s mistake.” RQM “will not be charged for the ad that was incorrectly printed,” he said.

A municipal official confirmed the Herald fish wrapper is to blame. “The ad you mentioned in the South Shore Breaker was placed in error by the South Shore Breaker and was not placed by RQM,” communications coordinator Heather Cook said by email. “Therefore there is no charge to the municipality.”

The erroneous ad in the Dec. 5 South Shore Breaker, a “Herald community weekly publication,” whatever that means.

The actual headliner (Brett Kissel) and opener (Jason Price) were announced at a much-hyped Dec. 4 event at QPEC.

The erroneous ad appeared in the following day’s Breaker and identified Gord Bamford at the top of the bill, supported by Jojo Mason. Fans of these two gentlemen might be irked to think what might have been.

Ticket prices in the ad were also incorrect. The actual cost is $62.50 plus taxes and fees, five dollars more than stated in the Breaker.

Truth be told, other than the time of the concert, the only thing the ad got right is that Queens County’s Autumn Rae Carver will be the “special guest.”

The correct concert information. (Facebook: RQM)

For such an error to occur, it’s safe to assume RQM was in fairly deep negotiations with Bamford and Mason before going with Kissel and Price. Cook’s email sheds no light on this or how exactly the Breaker received the erroneous information without some mistake being made at municipal headquarters.

SaltWire Network, the parent company of the Herald and its weekly bird-cage liners, shuttered the 140-year-old Queens County Advance in June. The once-venerable paper’s closure forced RQM to choose a new vehicle for its legally required advertising.

Rather than choose award-winning newspaper LighthouseNow Progress-Bulletin — which, by way of disclosure, I freelanced for in the past — municipal officials awarded the contract to the Breaker. Sadly, the town of Bridgewater announced last week it would be pulling its ads from LighthouseNow in favour of the Breaker. So much for supporting local journalism.

If there is a silver lining to this fantastic screw-up, it’s that few people seem to actually read the Breaker. Most appear to simply open it, grab the flyers, and quickly dump the “paper” in the recycling bin.

That’s what I used to do before I cancelled delivery.

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