Cold Beach Toronto

Saturday Brew: Rocco Rossi to Run for Mayor, Kyle Rae Calling it Quits, Full-Day Kindergarten for Poor Neighbourhoods, Two Advertising Controversies

Photo: "winter scene" by arcticlamb, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

The national director of the federal liberal party, Rocco Rossi, is expected to announce that he's entering Toronto's mayoral race on Monday. If true, Rossi will bring even more non-municipal clout to a race that already includes former provincial cabinet minister George Smitherman and is likely also to include one-time Ontario Conservative Leader John Tory.

At around the same time that news broke of Rossi's planned announcement, supporters of Toronto concillor Kyle Rae received an email notification that he would not be seeking re-election. Rae, Toronto's first openly gay councillor, did not fully elaborate on his decision. He did, however, note that he won't "miss parking complaints, oversized fences, noisy neighbour issues, garbage questions and dogs in parks." The full text of Rae's email can be found here.

Children who reside in low-income neighbourhoods throughout the city will be some of the first to attend full-day kindergarten in the fall. The Toronto District School Board released a list recommending 75 schools for eligibility in the program as about 35, 000 children across Ontario are expected to move to the full-day format next year. Although more expensive for the government to fund -- which has led to criticism of the program by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada -- full-day kindergarten drastically reduces the financial burden of daycare for families who require the service.

Yesterday was occasion for controversy over two ad campaigns, one involving a beer-drinking Santa Claus and the other extra-marital affairs (see below). In support of their sale of non-alcoholic beer at Mac's convenience stores, Labatt's campaign slogan is "Leave one out for Santa. He's driving." Some are offended by the ad's association of the wholesome figure of Santa with beer -- rather than milk and cookies -- while marketing professor Alan Middelton claims that it's silly for the ad to associate drinking and driving, even if the product contains 0.5% alcohol. Others, thankfully, don't think it's a big deal. It may not be the work of Don Draper, but the ad seems clever enough to me.

And although it initially appeared that the notorious, affair-promoting website, Ashley Madison, had reached an agreement to run a controversial ad campaign on a TTC streetcar, the commission's advertising review committee decided to pull the plug on the deal yesterday afternoon. Featuring the slogan "Life is short. Have an affair," the campaign was rejected on account of its poor taste and dubious moral message. Predictably, Ashley Madison CEO, Noel Biderman, responded to the rejection by questioning whether or not the TTC is really in a position to be turning down ad revenue. Does TTC stand for Toronto Taste Control? Are they duty-bound to reject ads of this nature? Have your say below.

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