Toronto Entertainment Weeklies Drink the Car-ad-hater’s Kool-aid

In a previous post, we described the local “indie entertainment weeklies” (one owned by mega-car advertiser Torstar, the other by millionaires Michael Hollet and Alice Klein). Both weekly papers are free, published every Thursday and placed in boxes around the city in time for folks to get their weekend entertainment options figured out. Both take a strong (not to say “holier than thou”) attitude toward issues of global warming, smog, car dependency, and the environment. Despite this lip-service paid by both weeklies to environmental causes, both have traditionally been littered with car porn, advertising those rolling furnaces our culture primes hip, young bohemian wanna-be’s to think are “necessary evils.

But something is shifting, some unspoken lines are being drawn. Last week NOW published an entire issue without a single car ad. Then today, whoops, there they go again! No car porn! Not one single ad.

Last week EYE had only one car ad. This week? Same thing. Just one ad.

What’s going on?

We put our intrepid urban designer, Jacob Allderdice, to the task of voicing (guarded) praise. Letters were written to both weeklies, and (strangely enough) both found print.

Published today in NOW magazine:


Make it policy: ban car ads

Wow, NOW. what can a dedicated car-hater say? You proved it can be done. You put out an entire issue, 120 pages plus a 16-page insert, without a single car advertisement (NOW, February 22-28). Keep up the good work!

Rather than speculate on the reasons (is it that the Auto Show’s in town and the car corps have blown their ad wads on thick car porn inserts in the daily papers?), I’ll just say congratulations. It was truly a refreshing change.

Hey. Here’s an idea. Why not make it NOW policy to ban car ads all the time? I sense a green PR coup.

And today in EYE Weekly:


What a strange sensation I had reading Eye Weekly on Feb. 22: an undefinable sense of the uncanny pulled me in, something refreshing and different surged on almost every page. Of course! You managed to flesh out a 56-page paper with news, comment, reviews and ads – and only one car ad in the whole mix. What a change from the usual! OK, it may be just that the monster corporations blew their ad wads on thick inserts in the daily papers, and had nothing to do with any moral stand at Eye Weekly regarding car porn. But whatever the reason, thanks.

We at the ALLDERBLOB fear it’s just a glitch, a simple case of the advertising staff at both weeklies falling down on the job. After all, no one pretends those papers are in business for the sake of the planet. They’re there for their wallets [ooh, don’t you love homophones? –ed.]. Nonetheless, we felt in necessary, as we hope you will, dear reader, to “incite, encourage, and glorify” the act of rejecting car culture in all its manifestations.

We incite, encourage and glorify the writing of your own letters to NOW and EYE telling them to make it their policy to reject car advertising. The ball is rolling. Give it a gentle push.

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