Column: Bad publicity can be good, even for Santa

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

There’s no such thing as bad publicity, even when it involves Satan.

I’ve never visited Courtenay on Vancouver Island, nor have I attended its Comox Valley Christmas Parade.

But the Dec. 1 event caught the attention of myself and many others due to an unfortunate typo in an ad in the Nov. 21 edition our sister newspaper, the Comox Valley Record.

Promoting the parade, the ad included “Pictures with Satan.” The error went viral, with the Twitterati taking a sudden interest in Comox. Other news ages jumped on Beelzebub bandwagon even talk show host/comedian Seth Meyers was able milk the Mephistopheles mix-up for a monologue.

To their credit, the Record team owned the error, stating in an editorial, “We often chuckle about the typos we have caught, breathing sighs of relief when the L in “public” or the B in “Hornby” is added by the last set of eyes before going to print…

“But when it happens in an ad, it becomes all that much more blatant. They are called ‘display ads’ for a reason.

“They are meant to stand out on the page. This one did that, for all the wrong reasons. On the bright side, everyone in the Comox Valley and beyond knows when the Courtenay Christmas parade is…”

Read more: Crude photos land Penticton’s Santa on the ‘naughty list’

Read more: Penticton residents, businesses embrace ‘naughty’ Santa

Read more: VIDEO: Newspaper’s ‘Photos with Satan’ ad appears on late-night TV

We empathize with the Record and applaud their response.

While the mistake was clearly unintentional, one need only do a Google search for “Comox Satan” to see the kind of traction the devilish little typo achieved.

Turning heads a week later was another news story involving Santa. Gary Haupt was terminated from a job as a Penticton mall Santa because of photos posted to his Facebook page.

The crude, if not offensive images show Haupt, dressed as Mr. Claus, engaged in a variety of naughty activities, including drinking from a flask and supposedly spanking a woman’s behind.

“Part of this is my naivety because I thought this was really funny…,” said Haupt, upset by the mall’s response but pleased with the subsequent outpouring of support.

Making headlines across the province, Haupt’s Santa has since been booked for numerous appearances, including a pub, a cafe, the Elks Hall and an elementary school.

When it comes to publicity, it appears Sata…, er, Santa can do no wrong.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

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