You’d think that people would be talking about TIFF, our world renowned film festival or the fact that we are one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Perhaps Caribana or the Pride Parade has made a reputable list of events to experience.
But no. Toronto is not being recognized for the many restaurants, preserved green space or even the fact that the PATH system is the largest underground pedestrian walkway in the world. People are laughing though – at our leadership.
Yep. Talk show hosts John Stewart and Jimmy Kimmel have focussed their commentary on Toronto’s Mayor for the past month.
Everyone knows the story. Confessions of crack smoking, allegations of inappropriate conduct, crass public comments and drunken stupors pretty much sums it all up. Those of us who live in the city and even in the suburbs are shaking our heads and pretending to be embarrassed.
But we’re all laughing. We’re all tuning into the news every night and some of us are staying up to watch the late shows so catch a glimpse of our Mayor or the city’s logo. Personally, I don’t watch SNL regularly but I tuned in to see the skit and was a little proud to see the City of Toronto’s logo displayed as prominently as it was.
Let’s face it, there’s no such thing as bad publicity because the bottom line is: audiences have noticed!!
Not only has Toronto’s Mayor been immortalized on Letterman’s Top Ten, but Chris Daughtry wrote a song about his antics. Yep, he’s famous.
The truth is, he’s a really good publicist and I’m convinced that he knows the trick to get people to sit up and take notice. Being recognized based on bureaucratic, sensible messages is not easy. In fact, according to a psychologist Albert Mehrabian’s three elements of face-to-face communication, only 7 % of the spoken words actually resonate with audiences. The tone of the delivery accounts for 38%, but people identify most with the presenter’s body language which has an impact of 55%.
I can’t confirm that the Mayor has actually read Mehrabian’s theory but he sure seems to practice it. His choice of words are always shocking and very memorable. They are accompanied with a loud, almost shrieking tone and assertive body language. No one remembers the words of a leader standing diplomatically behind a podium but they will surely take notice of emotional raw words hurled out dramatically in an overtly candid manner. It definitely has enticed residents of cities all across the world who wait and see what entertainment will unfold next.
Re-election is irrelevant at this point. Even if he’s not voted back into Toronto’s top seat, he will walk around like a rock star. People will continue to stand in line at Argo games to pose for pictures and ask for autographs.
That’s how publicity works. If your skin resembles armour and you can sleep at night, you too can be famous. Public scandal is gourmet food for populists. The only way to combat them is to starve them. Lower the ratings and change the channel.
It’s Christmastime anyway. Time to focus on more festive events.