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Taken For A Musical Ride

by Stephen Lautens


August 29, 2003

With the assistance of market research consultants, the RCMP has come up with a new corporate design. Their advice was to drop the yellow colour from the RCMP’s logo and pamphlets after focus groups decided that yellow was only for taxis and cowards. The new design will be phased in over the next year or two.

It makes you wonder what other advice the RCMP might have received from other image consultants.

"Next on the agenda is a redesign of the RCMP crest." The image consultant looked at it. "What’s that animal anyway? A dog? A muskrat?"

"It’s a buffalo," Sergeant Thickman said. He was wondering about the wisdom of hiring the firm of Slippery & Glide to spruce up the Mounties’ image. They were supposed to be the best, but he was beginning to have his doubts.

"A buffalo? You’ll never get the youngsters with that. In terms of hipness, buffaloes ranked just below otters in our study. We focus grouped several new animals, and the majority favoured the RCMP use either sharks or dinosaurs for your new crest. It’ll look great on your cap badge. The merchandizing and tee shirt sales alone will cover the cost of replacing it. It’ll reach out to the kids and it’ll toughen up your image big time."

"We’ll have to think about it."

"Next we looked at revamping your motto." The consultant flipped through several pages of notes. "That ‘We always get our man’ thing tested poorly. For one thing, it was identified as sexist. What about women and the transgendered? What about young offenders who are not yet quite men? There was a general consensus that the motto is exclusionary and doesn’t address the wide range of people you could be called upon to hunt down and bring to justice."

Sergeant Thickman frowned. "I don’t think we should have to worry about criminals’ feelings."

"No, no," the consultant corrected. "We don’t call them criminals. It tested badly with persons frequently in conflict with the law, aged 18 to 49. You should always refer to them as ‘reluctant consumers of law enforcement services’ in all your literature. After all, you can’t afford to offend your best customers."

"I had a thirty hour standoff with one of our reluctant consumers last week," the Mountie grumbled. "So what changes do you suggest to our slogan?"

"Extensive workshops came up with this for a new RCMP motto: We always get our person, or persons, regardless of race, gender, orientation, ethnicity or membership in a particular socio-economic group."

"A little hard to fit on a business card," Sergeant Thickman pointed out.

"Finally, there’s the whole horse thing. Except for females 8 to 14, horses didn’t test very well. They were generally perceived as old fashioned and elitist. Then it came to me - dune buggies. Think Mad Max meets the Calgary Stampede. Black metal draped with hides and animal skulls. It will appeal to that key male 18 to 35 demographic. Not to mention the potential for a TV series. Think of it - The RCMP’s Dino-Shark Patrol starring David Hasselhof. It’s magic."

"I think I’ve heard enough," Sergeant Thickman said.

"Just promise me you’ll think about the shark."

© Stephen Lautens 2003

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