The British Columbia government, in an effort to increase the number of young applicants for skilled-trade jobs in the Canadian province, shot a little wide of the mark with a series of ads on Vancouver buses that have students more bemused than excited.
The campaign, which features gentle mockery of ski bums, hipsters, and gold diggers, and then directs viewers to a job-posting Web site, is intended to deal with a major labor shortage. Canadian Business reports that as many as 430,000 skilled-trade workers may be needed by 2020, but few young Canadians are willing to consider working in such fields.
Some slogans in the campaign seem to get the point across: “Because marrying rich may not pan out,” for example, sounds both clever and clear to us. But hipsters? The amorphous group that, depending on whom you’re asking, includes everyone from artisan pickle-makers in Portland to faux spectacle-wearing Instagrammers in Brooklyn?
Students are as baffled as anyone. “To me, hipster is just a way of dressing; it’s just a style,” Erin Cooper, a hairdressing student at Vancouver Island University, told The Ubyssey, the University of British Columbia’s student newspaper. “It’s not a job or someone’s career choice. So to me, I’m not really seeing the message.”
Yet the most vocal critics are—hold your surprise—opponents of the province’s governing Liberal Party. Gwen O’Mahony, a New Democratic Party member of the province’s Legislative Assembly, said, “If [Premier Christy Clark] 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.”
As for whether Ms. O’Mahony herself is in touch with the young, we’re calling her bluff until we see proof she was wearing an animal beanie at the time.
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