SAINTS PRESERVE US
Artesia Screamed in Vain
Advertising when pared to its core is a simple proposition. In exchange for your attention, you will be provided with information. Even a kid who operates a sidewalk refreshment table gets it. The sign reads: lemonade (item), 25-cents (price). That’s everything a neighbour with a bit of spare change needs to know.
Alberta is Canada’s largest prairie province. Its borders contain almost a quarter million square miles of land. When the Alberta edition of the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, drops six mornings a week it has to cover a lot of turf.
On Saturday, March 21 I was struck by a golf ball. Actually, it was a massive picture of a golf ball that took up half of the real estate available in a full page colour ad. The bracketed headline read: BECAUSE WHEN IT COMES TO GOOD LIVING ARTESIA IS THE PERFECT PRESCRIPTION. A smaller graphic icon near the top of the ad exhorted me to: LIVE OPEN WITH ARTESIA. This icon was the hub for a series of spoked instructions to: LIVE OPEN WITH CONFIDENCE and LIVE OPEN WITH PROMISE. I noticed other smaller pictures: a butterfly, wildflowers, trees.
What, I wondered, is Artesia? A drug? A golf course? An obscure Prussian duchy where Biggles, Algy and Ginger once outwitted the devilish Hun? The body copy began: 5 MINUTES FROM YOUR FIRST PATIENT, 5 MINUTES FROM THE 1ST TEE BOX. This polished nugget of claptrap made things even more confusing. The next sentence read: Located just minutes from the South Health Campus, Artesia puts you in the heart of everything that matters to you, including luxurious living.
Ah, assisted living for semi-retired medical doctors, perhaps? How many can there be? But where, oh where, is the heart of everything that matters to me? And where is the South Health Campus? The logo on the giant golf ball read: ARTESIA AT HERITAGE POINTE. Heritage Pointe, complete with the twee ‘e.’ I was pretty sure the amenities at Heritage Pointe included shoppes and maybe even Ye Olde Pub, but where was Heritage Pointe when it was at home? Alberta is a big place and there are four major cities in this province. The pace of development in these urban centres is such that even long time locals would be hard-pressed to name all of the new communities which have sprung up on the outskirts of each.
The ad went on to list the viewing hours of Artesia’s stunning show homes. Yet not a hint as to location, location, location. Oh, wait! Down there, way down there at the bottom: LIVEATARTESIA.COM. The web site read: A PLACE TO DROP YOUR SHOULDERS AND BREATHE. Virtual Artesia was becoming more mystical even as it promoted poor posture. It got better: WELCOME TO A PLACE WHERE BEING GREEN WASN’T AN AFTERTHOUGHT, IT WAS OUR FIRST THOUGHT. Aw, it’s not easy being green, everybody knows that, so that sentiment climate changed the cockles of my heart. LIVE OPEN WITH TRUST. Om, yes. But where!?