Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Last updated: 2 hours ago

B.C. government ad campaign runs with “Hipster is not a real job” slogan

Photo nessman/flickr

NANAIMO (CUP) — The B.C. government wants to be absolutely clear: hipster is not a real job.

A $15 million advertising campaign by the B.C. Liberal government that includes “Hipster is not a real job” ads is causing confusion among political adversaries and students alike. The ads are geared towards getting youth excited about pursuing a skilled trade and are currently running on Vancouver public transit.

Gwen O’Mahony, the NDP’s skills training critic, questions the judgment and ability of Premier Christy Clark to connect with B.C. youth.

“I’m quite confused by it. Obviously she [Premier Christy Clark] doesn’t have the groundwork … [to] get out there, talk to students directly, find out where they’re at and make that a part of the investigative work of policy development,” she said. “Clearly this shows that she really hasn’t had a lot of time speaking with students.

“If she [had] even gone to one institution and asked them what they thought of the slogan, I’m sure that the students would have set her straight.”

Other slogans in the campaign are “There’s a reason it’s called being a ski bum” and “Because marrying rich may not pan out.” Trades students at Vancouver Island University (VIU) were also confused by the Liberals’ new ad campaign.

“I don’t really understand the point that they’re trying to get across with the slogan. It doesn’t really make that much sense,” said Ryan Crowder, a VIU electrician student.

“To me, hipster is just a way of dressing; it’s just a style. It’s not a job or someone’s career choice. So to me, I’m not really seeing the message,” said Erin Cooper, a VIU hairdressing student.

O’Mahony and Michelle Mungall, the NDP advanced education critic, have been visiting B.C. campuses this fall to listen to the concerns of students and promote the NDP’s plan to improve access to learning opportunities.

“When I was traveling with Mungall, we mainly were talking to students about their experiences and what’s on their minds, and affordability was the number one issue,” said O’Mahony.

She claimed that within five to 10 years, 80 per cent of all B.C. jobs will require a post-secondary education, and that the B.C. government should be examining this statistic more seriously.

John Yap, the newly appointed minister for advanced education, has stated that increasing skills training is his biggest priority.

“If I were to sum up the focus in the short term, it is to ensure we have the facilities and programs to do trades training,” Yap told the Canadian University Press last month.

“It’s important we offer British Columbians the opportunity to fill those positions and encourage those that are in school and thinking about career options that they consider, if it’s right for them, a career that is well-paying and rewarding, in the trades.”

However, O’Mahony said she believes the Liberals are communicating the appeal of trades in the wrong way.

“You should never underestimate who you’re speaking to; people don’t like to be talked down to,” she said.

“I think just telling people this is how much you’ll get paid if you had a trade or education and this is what you’ll get paid if you don’t is enough.”

  • Angie

    Oh fer… If students and politicians are really so dense as to not get the humor in the slogan, then we’ve got much bigger problems than the slogans themselves.

    It seems pretty clear to me the ads are meant to get a chuckle and point to where people find some tips and info on different career options they might not have considered, and when I was a student at UBC I had numerous friends who had chosen majors based more on interest than job prospects who were starting to worry as graduation loomed about just what they were going to be able to do with that English Lit degree and if they were going to have to live with their parents forever. I ended up working retail for several years before finally being able to build up a couple freelancing revenue streams, none of which have anything to do with my major.

    And I would venture to say that the trades students at VIU, who have
    already made up their minds on their career choices, are hardly the
    students that the ads are targeting. Electricians do just fine, and I’m sure the hairdressing student will also be doing better than a lot of UBC arts majors.

    • jsoko

      It’s not that funny, if anything they may be losing any “hipster” vote and other aware hip intellectual votes. It shows their lack of connection. You may be the minority on this.

      • J

        the votes speak otherwise.

        “aware hip intellectual votes”. it’s something that was meant to catch the attention of a commuter and direct it to their job finding resources. I don’t know, i thought it was funny, and I hang out with a few self-declared “hipsters” who had a good chuckle.

        people have got to stop taking themselves so seriously

  • Robby

    I agree with Angie. The ads are to promote the opportunities that are available to B.C. youth in trade. We’re going to have nearly 1 million jobs to fill in the next decade and a lot of those will be skilled work.

    This is a great opportunity for a lot of people who are looking for something to do. Join a trade…learn a new skill!

    • deano

      And what better method than cultural division!?

      From the same marketing team as “Can’t live off that Home Equity forever, Yuppies! Buy my investment services!”

  • M

    I know it’s meant to be humour but it’s completely out of touch. Being a hipster has nothing to do with income. As jsoko point outs, it’s self-identify — especially self-identify as a consumer. The people who would truly benefit from a trades education are those from marginalized socio-economic groups; not someone who’s parents sent them VIU, UBC or whatever.

  • Scuba Steve

    “Freeloading politician is not a REAL job.”

  • Robson Simpson

    If the NDP critic is “quite confused” by the initiative, she best take advantage of the program, and see if some honest, hard work suits her, but then …. oh nevermind. The ads are intended to provoke, and not to be forgotten, and they have succeeded. This multiplies the value of the message. Look it up.

  • disco bunny

    I thought we were trying to promote an anti bullying society