I’ve blogged a lot about the Marketing and Communications department at EC. They have generously supplied me with enough material to keep me going during periods of quiet when I might otherwise have had to cast a wider net to find something to write in my weekly posts. But this time they’ve really outdone themselves, so much so that when I received yesterday’s email to media from EC Manager of M&C Cheryl Tataryn, I was close to speechless. It took me a good night’s sleep to fully comprehend the missive, whose purpose I can not fully understand without suspecting that someone has completely lost his or her marbles. Though now at least I understand why there has been no EC press release announcing the Olympic Eventing team, which went out to the world via other methods – namely the riders’ Facebook pages and EventingNation – days ago.
The email, which is addressed ‘Dear editors’, contains an outrageous message. While acknowledging that the Eventing and Para team members are already widely known, and even giving a link to a list of names that is on the EC site, the email explains in a grammatical style known as ESL (‘It is only the COC and CPC who can to officially name our athletes to the Olympic and Paralympic teams’) that EC will issue no announcements about the Olympic teams until July 5th, even though all the disciplines will have long told their athletes before then. If I were to encapsulate the main message of the email in less than ten words, it would go something like this: Congratulations to our athletes! But shhh, don’t tell anyone.
‘In an effort to ensure that our official Team announcements have the maximum impact on the above noted dates, Equine Canada will only issue soft announcements of our nominations,’ Cheryl writes by way of explanation. Okay. That makes no sense whatsoever. ‘Maximum impact’ will never be achieved with ‘soft announcements’. And this crap (sorry, but I just have to use a semi-profanity here) about not being able to announce anything until July 5 because that’s when the COC is announcing the teams, is easily blown into a million little pieces by a mere visit to the home page of the COC’s website, where you can find this week’s bright red, big happy-font announcements of the names of the athletes who have been named to the track cycling and tennis teams. EC has done some absurd things but this really is the whole enchilada when it comes to stupid.
And while all this Canadian news is busy not being shared with the world, equestrian teams are being named left, right and centre. I’ve already received two announcements about the British Eventing Team, the second of which tells me how I can interview the team members in person on June 19th. Some of the USEF press releases about their Olympic trials read like grade 10 English assignments, but at least they exist.
Hm. I just noticed something strange when I went on the EC site to make sure I had Cheryl’s job title correct (that’s called fact checking). She used to be the boss of the three-member M&C team at EC, but I see a new name has been planted above hers. Margaret Harvey is listed as ‘Director’ of the M&C dept. Wouldn’t you think that merited some kind of announcement to members? Irony visits the EC M&C department yet again; it would have been up to the M&C dept to draft and send a press release announcing Maggie’s arrival as queen communications bee. I actually heard that the addition of a new boss-of-the-boss had taken place over a month ago. But until EC finally put the information on the website (which is presumably the purview of the M&C dept as well, no?), I couldn’t rant about EC’s policy of playing musical chairs with its staff while once again applying the ‘mushroom’ principle to how it keeps its members informed – since technically I couldn’t have known about it. So now we have four people in M&C (the name of a graphic designer appeared at some point but I only noticed it today), one of which is a ‘director’, and the other a ‘manager’. Seems a bit top heavy to me.
Besides the bizarro email to ‘editors’ yesterday advising us all that EC will do NOTHING to publicize the naming of our Olympic teams, there were more signs of the M&C’s top notch work in my inbox this week. For instance, the subject line of an email that announced Canada’s bid for the 2013 World Equestrian Games. Wow. That’s quite a piece of news. There’s going to be a WEG next year and it might be in Canada? The actual press release has us bidding for WEG in 2018. I don’t know who wrote this release, because I don’t know who is at the other end of firstname.lastname@example.org. But whoever it was needs a refresher in the basics, such as making sure names are spelled correctly. Included in the list of individuals who have declared their support for Bromont’s bid are ‘Chester Webber, elite athlete’, and ‘John Maddem’. Much as the idea of John ‘Maddem’ gives me a chuckle, his name is actually ‘Madden’, as in Beezie’s husband. And if you are going to identify someone as an elite athlete, at least have the courtesy to spell his name correctly. It’s ‘Weber’. The whole release is just sloppy, from the comma in the middle of ‘FE,I’ right in the first sentence to identifying bid city Rabat as being in (MAR) instead of (MOR) in the second. There ain’t no ‘A’ in Morocco, folks.
Maybe EC should just contract out their M&C to these cats:
I really didn’t think EC’s M&C dept could have got any worse, but it did. Here’s a bit of advice I am sure will not be welcomed with open arms by everyone at EC: why don’t you get rid of one of the managerial positions and hire a proof reader/fact checker? And while you’re at it, stop finding new ways to throw obstacles in the path of giving a bit of well deserved publicity to our Olympic athletes. We expect great things of them. A bit of press is the least they should be able to expect of us.