Lilley

New CBC logo an insult to Canadians

By Brian Lilley

CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto.

CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto.

Can you imagine a national broadcaster, paid for by the public, that didn’t want to use the country’s name at all?

I can, and you pay for it.

In case you haven’t heard, Radio-Canada, the French arm of the CBC, has announced it will rebrand itself “Ici.” If you aren’t fluent in French, let me translate that for you — they are calling themselves “Here.”

Kind of reminds me of what I say to my dogs when I want them to come: “Here boy.”

I doubt that’s the image CBC wanted for itself in French, but I’m not the only one who’s made that observation.

The truly big problem, though, for Canadian taxpayers is the French CBC will no longer use the word Canada in its name.

For 75 years, French Canadians have known Radio-Canada. My negative views towards the state broadcaster and their $1.1 billion per year subsidy are well known, but I would never deny they had a strong, well-known brand.

On Wednesday, they blew up that brand and decided to call themselves “Here.”

“Well, first of all, as a consumer, I’m quite disappointed,” NDP heritage critic and CBC/Radio-Canada booster Pierre Nantel told reporters after the announcement. Later, Nantel added, “This is a weird call.”

I’d have to agree and so would former Liberal leader and Montreal MP Stephane Dion, who thought people were playing a joke on him when he was first asked about it.

Part of the message I get from this is Radio-Canada is happy to take its share of the more than $1 billion per year but doesn’t want anything to do with the word Canada.

Britain has the British Broadcasting Corporation, Australia has the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and even France has its own state broadcaster called France Televisions. In French Canada, we have “Here.”

I can’t even write that without thinking “sit” and “good doggy” should come after it.

Dropping Canada from the name is a slap in the face to every taxpayer who funds the place. I truly do wonder whether this was done as a sop to Quebec separatists, many of whom have long worked at Radio-Canada but can’t stomach the name.

This isn’t wild speculation. Going back to the 1960s, there has been a strong separatist faction with CBC’s French quarters. Even Pierre Trudeau viewed parts of CBC’s Quebec operations with suspicion.

The other bothersome part of this is the cost of the name change.

Officials at CBC HQ tell me the design alone cost $400,000 or more than $133,000 per letter. The exploding hockey puck logo of CBC stays the same, they are just changing the brand name while keeping the logo. Nice work if you can get it.

Of course, that $400,000 cost doesn’t include what it will set taxpayers back to replace the signs on the outside of buildings, change the websites, fix the stationary and all the other places the name will need to be changed. Yet CBC cries poor.

Consider for a moment the average Canadian working full-time earns $45,000 to $48,000 per year and the cost of CBC’s three letter rebranding becomes astounding.

How many hours did the average worker have to toil to make enough money to pay the taxes for a team of fancy marketing executives and graphic designers to decide they would ditch all references to Canada and replace them with a command for your dog?

This move is an insult to all Canadians.

 


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