Spin some truth for a change


MARK Baker says: Did you hear about the finance student who applied for an internship at a Wall Street bank with a refreshingly honest cover letter?

"I won't waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles, or feeding you a line of crap about how my past experiences and skill set align perfectly for an investment banking internship," Matthew Ross wrote.

"The truth is I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you."

The letter went viral, with many commenting on its frankness and originality, and Mr Ross landed the job.

It got me thinking of a few stories this week that were spun so badly it made Nathan Lyon look half decent.

Take businessman Dick Smith's Australia Day advertisement, which was banned because its language might offend.

"There's only one dick I'll be eating on Australia Day," claims an elderly woman. "Chow down on my Aussie nuts," Smith implores in the ad, but insists there is no innuendo.

Of course there is, that's the joke, albeit a particularly unfunny one.

It's a publicity stunt and one of the oldest advertising tricks in the book; create something you know won't get past the censors, then lash out with confected outrage so the story gets picked up and promoted for free.

And yes, I know I'm doing exactly what these marketers want but I just wish people would be honest and not adopt these specious lines of spin.

Seafish Tasmania, for example, announced it wanted to use its super trawler as a floating freezer; buying fish from smaller vessels before taking them on board to be frozen and stored.

The company said it was not an attempt to sidestep the ruling of federal Environment Minister Tony Burke, who banned the trawler from fishing for two years, because it was not fishing.

Hang on a second. Isn't that exactly what it is?

Our politicians are masters of spin but even Premier Lara Giddings managed a particularly impressive wrong 'un this week when she announced a $15 million contribution to the upgrade of Bellerive Stadium.

Last year, the government shouldered arms at the suggestion of chipping in for the $30 million upgrade. The "coffers were empty", "there was no hay left in the barn".

Now, we can offer the duplication of two 20,000 capacity venues 200 kilometres apart for a population of 500,000 people.

What would the world be like if more people adopted Matthew Ross's frankness.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if Dick Smith said, "Of course I knew the innuendo might offend some people, duh, that's why I did it."

Or Seafish Tasmania said, "Look, we spent a heap of cash bringing that bloody ship here so we're looking for a loophole to use it somehow."

If everyone started doing it, maybe Ms Giddings would come clean and say, "I know we're duplicating sporting venues, but, you know, it's an election year in 2014, and we're likely to lose that anyway so it's a great bit of pork barrelling we won't have to fund regardless."


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