This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!
The BC Government’s Yoga Day: An example of a PR stunt gone wrong
The International Day of Yoga class on the Burrard Bridge was cancelled. Read News 1130’s coverage of the story here.
I’m sure they had good intentions. Yoga is one of the oldest and most conscious practices in the world, but the Western world has turned it from a practice to a trend. So what better way to spread good vibes for the government than to organize a city-wide yoga class?
There are several problems with the idea.
1. Location – The class is set to take place Sunday June 21 on the Burrard Bridge for seven hours from 4-11am. The closure of the bridge is estimated to cause taxpayers $150,000.
2. Timing – June 21 IS International Day of Yoga, and so the timing seems to be ideal. However, as Mike Smyth of The Province pointed out, it is also Father’s Day, and as CTV News pointed out, June 21 is also National Aboriginal Day. First Nations artist Burton Amos says that groups are planning to protest by singing and drumming while the classes are taking place.
3. Hashtag proliferation – The official hashtag for the event is #OmtheBridge. As of yesterday, people such as musician Raffi Cavoukian have been encouraging the use of #ShuntheBridge as a way of expressing protest for the event.
4. Political donor props – The four major sponsors of the event – lululemon, YYoga, the City of Surrey, and Altagas – are major donors of the Liberal Party and IntegrityBC says that donors shouldn’t be receiving that kind of public attention.
Stunts are risky – they can go perfectly as planned, or backfire. In my opinion, the government wanted to be seen to do something good (#2 rule) while many British Columbians already question whether they are doing the right thing(s) (#1 rule) in the first place. Rule #3 is don’t get them mixed up.