Communications cupcakes

Apr 8, 2009

In Ottawa, people often try to use food to promote their cause, their organization or their business. Food and politics do mix well, apparently.  So much so that Maclean’s has a full time guy covering the scene (candy Martini, anyone?) , and so does the Hill Times.

It happens all the time, and politicians, staff and especially interns are always happy to indulge and enjoy free food. And booze.

Which brings me to the most recent food-related marketing operation that I witnessed, which was certainly different and interesting.  And it made a lot of people smile, which is a plus when you invest time and money to promote your business.

After working in politics for close to a decade, Ian Capstick left the NDP after the last election, and he set up his own communications consulting shop, MediaStyle.  Ian’s proposal is to bring in tailor-made progressive communications & training. Talking of tailor-made, he gives fashion advice too, so that progressive politicians, advocates and other proponents of social change are no longer seen as a bunch of hippies. Basically, he wants them to drop the “pies”.

Capstick is a foodie in his own right, and people always look forward to the parties he throws with the help of his partner Shawn.

So no wonder then that, as part of MediaStyle’s promotional strategy, Capstick has been distributing fancy cupcakes around the Capital in the past few days.

The cupcakes came in boxes of 12.  One was dropped at the NDP Caucus Services’ office on Queen Street.  It came coifed with an orange tag and purple and orange ribbons.  MediaStyle’s trademark, apparently, is an old-style reporter’s hat, complete with a media card tucked in the band.  I say apparently because the orange hat is not immediately apparent on their website.  

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing, topped with gold nuggets,  they were inserted in a aluminium foil wrapper on top of their regular paper one.  As I said, fancy. 

The base was very, very rich.  Lots of butter seemed to be the trick, the texture was very moist and the cake held together quite well.  The chocolate flavour was strong yet smooth.  The icing was not as rich, and the flavour not as strong – a nice complement.  It was on the verge of getting dry, giving it an almost imperceptible crunchiness.  It might be due to age and exposure to air, and wasn’t a major flaw.  The gold nuggets topping it all didn’t really have any effect on the taste of the cupcake.

If people do take the cupcakes as a proof of what MediaStyle can deliver, then they’ll make good money because those were good cupcakes.  ”It was the best cupcake I’ve ever had,” said Scott.  Now, of course, Scott specialize in ATI requests, and he admitted that cupcakes were not his “cup” of tea.  Still, a winner for MediaStyle.

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