Sunday, 10 April 2011

Backhanded police defence of cougar ad?

In this morning's Sunday Star-Times there's a report about the notorious "cougar" police recruiting ad (see Maia's post on 6 February). Headline: "Police 'cougar' ad gets the recruits". First sentence: "A sexist police recruitment advertisement which was quickly axed has been wildly successful - attracting record numbers of potential recruits." Notice the addition of the word "potential" - not quite the same thing as actual recruits.

Near the end of the report it turns out that this "success" claim is based on a briefing from police public affairs general manager Michael Player to Judith Collins.

There are no details about how many actual recruits, let alone suitable recruits, the police got as a result. Instead the claim seems to be based solely on the fact that in the week before the ad was dropped, the recruiting site received "the largest single number of weekly hits ever".

Nowhere does this news report explain that police were pushed into dropping the ad after a flood of public protests about it. Nor does it mention that the increase in hits was at least as likely to have come from people having a look to see what the protest was about as from a sudden surge in eager potential recruits.


Anonymous said...

What utter fucking dishonesty! Since the "cougar" ad was one of several in their latest recruitment campaign ("We like queue-jumpers" was another, and maybe "Get paid more than your Dad" or some other rubbish?)

But of course in a recession and time of raised unemployment, having a lot of people going for the job security of the police force must be down to a ~hilarious~ joke about stupid older women who think they have some kind of right to be sexually attractive ...

ZenTiger said...

The article reeked of spin control, and just added to the disgrace by using the "end justifies the means" argument, which it doesn't.

The implication that the advertising was successful is very dishonest, as they use the website hit count as the "proof" instead of actual recruitment numbers. Far more likely, people coming to see the appalling advert as linked by many bloggers pointing out the advert was in poor taste.

The whole article was a pathetic exercise in spin control, and for my mind, made them look worse for it.

Bel said...

Thank you for this! As I read the article I was like *ROLLS EYES* about the amount of spin. And thought the exact same thing about the (lack of) suitability of recruits!