[Disclaimer: This is a short rant about Boeing’s charm offensive (aka marketing campaign) aimed at Canadians after shafting their aerospace industry with crippling tariffs. If you’re all for the big guys being able to push out competition, then you probably don’t want to read this.]
An ad started appearing on our TV screen last week that at first blush seemed very positive, even compelling. Mind you, I’m an easy mark for these feel-good kinds of ads. It was low-key, with lovely images of nature, soft music, and a pleasing, non-aggressive voice. Very Canadian. With many ads that I enjoy (sometimes more than the program I’m watching), I often remember the heart-warming vignette but haven’t taken in what is being advertised. But with this one I slowly woke up to the fact that this was Boeing telling Canadians how much they love us. Boeing! The same Boeing that has just convinced the U.S. Dept. of Commerce to slap two trade tariffs on Bombardier’s CSeries airplane totalling 300% of its sticker price. Yes, THREE HUNDRED PERCENT! Why not just say, “Sorry, Canada, but we don’t think you should have an aerospace industry. You can just continue to buy our airplanes.” Of course, that’s exactly what they’ve said, in spades, but without the “Sorry”.
As a result of having pushed Bombardier to such an egregious extent, Boeing now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having Canada – and the UK, whose largest employer in Northern Ireland is Bombardier operation – rethink their pending orders for Boeing’s fighter aircraft after all. Whoops, that’s not what they wanted. Gosh, they just wanted Delta to choose a Boeing plane over Bombardier. But, wait, Boeing doesn’t actually produce that size and spec of plane. Oh, right, they just wanted to screw Bombardier. They haven’t found a way – yet – to overcome the resulting public relations fallout, so for the moment they seem to have decided to appeal to the Canadian taxpayer and voter by plying our screens with messaging about the extraordinary contributions Boeing has made to Canada over Boeing’s 100 year history. I’m surprised that their ad doesn’t include flying a beaver back to its dam or flying a fresh cup of Tim Horton’s to a Mountie at a remote northern outpost.
Funny, Boeing is telling us that it’s been our friend for 100 years, but this is the first time we’re hearing about it. First time ever. Who has ever seen the words Boeing and Canada together before, not to mention with a Maple Leaf? It’s telling us that it’s committed to Canada, it always has been committed to Canada (just forgot to tell us before), and it always will be committed to Canada. Sure. Where have we heard that before? Maybe from Target’s? Maybe from Sears? As my husband says, “Let’s hope they’ve at least used a Canadian marketing agency to create the ad.”