Stupid announcements - part 7134 in an infinite series

Simply marvellous. Another quality sample from today's newswire:

Video B-roll via Satellite - CORRECTION: Feed time delayed to 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. EST.


Lest you think I'm just being snarky for the sake of it - this one specifically invites feedback in the last line of the advisory:

"...this release is offered for your free and unrestricted news use. Comments regarding the content and quality are welcomed."

Why, thank you. Now, where to start...?

Skipping past that rather ineptly punctuated headline, perhaps the finest point of this announcement is the fact that it is a "correction" to a version already issued at 7:00 this morning.

Why is that entertaining? Three reasons:

1. The time for the satellite feed was changed (originally 10:00 - 10:30; changed to 10:15 - 10:45).  Time that this release hit the wire: 10:45.  Excellent!

2. Further confusion is introduced through the headline referring to "EST" while the co-ordinates given in the body text quote "EDT".  Not a big problem, of course - we're only talking about synchronizing a satellite downlink here. Not like it's something that requires accurate timing or anything...

3. The "corrected" version actually introduces these and other new errors not included in the original.  For example, "bylaws" in version one becomes "bylaw's" in version two (ouch).  "Co-ordinates" becomes "co ordinates". (N.B. To be fair, I should point out that it's possible these errors were introduced at the wire service - that has happened to me in the past).

The body of the announcement is one long, tortured paragraph of clumsy sentences and seemingly random punctuation. A representative passage:

"And, while reinforcing that the health hazards associated with second-hand smoke are well known, accepted and undisputed the B-roll sends out a clear and consistent message that the fears associated with lost sales appear to be both greatly exaggerated and sensationalized. Speaking out against opinions expressed by what are felt to be minority segments from within their own industry, hospitality proprietors from across Ontario agree, that the advent of 100% smoke-free bylaws as they relate to both public and work places, is good for public health, good for business and quite simply, is the right thing to do."

My eyes are bleeding. 

The really frustrating thing is that this announcment is in support of a patently good cause. I'm all for smoke-free work places and restaurants - I have kids.  I just wish they did a better job of getting their message across.

Which leads to the final question - who "they"?

The contact info at the bottom lists one "Tom Miller, COO".  COO of what, exactly, is something we're left to figure out for ourselves.

I'm guessing it's the organization listed in the next line - "For technical information DURING the feed, please call CFA at...". But who are the CFA? 

Canadian Federation of Agriculture? Unlikely - lots of tobacco growers in Canada. 

Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists, perhaps? Wanting clearer air and un-compromised olfactory perception in order to advance their own smelly agenda...?

Canadian Forestry Association? Could the link between cigarette butts and forest fires be driving this initiative?

Or how about the Cat Fanciers' Association? Doubt it.  They seem to know where to put their apostrophes (and their Abyssinians, of course).

326,000 Google hits for "CFA Canada" (2.8 million if you drop the "Canada").  Nothing in the first five pages of results looks like it has anything to do with the anti-smoking lobby. The advisory was issued under the rubric of Cancer Care Ontario, which makes sense - but who is this shadowy lobbying group, lurking in the bluish-grey cloud at the back of the room?  Canadians for Free Air...? Canadian Fag Antagonists? ("Fag" in the British sense, natch - not the North American meaning).

OK, I'll fess up. This time I really am being unfairly snarky.  I happen to know that the CFA in question is a video production and marcoms company (whose site doesn't work in FireFox, alas), but I still can't help poking them. If I had time, it would be entertaining to give their site a thorough fisking too, just for the halibut. Here's a small sample of particularly egregious nuggets:

"CFA is seamlessly integrated to meet all of our client's communications needs." - but we're afraid that we can only handle one client at a time...

"The ability to talk to someone in Vancouver while standing in St. John's is no longer a novelty, it's a necessity." - simply not true: I know plenty of people in St. John's who are able to go for days at a time without talking to anyone in Vancouver, standing or sitting.

"CFA's 38,000 square foot logistics and fulfillment centre..." - ahh, this one clearly gives them the edge.  I've used lots of round centres for my foot logistics in the past, but never a 38,000 square one. Must be an impressive facility.

And finally:

"CFA is raising the standards of corporate communications, education, training, and ultimately, learning."

Good to hear. Starting when...?

[FWIW: I know that the whim to berate some other marcoms type for their grammatical ineptitude is guaranteed to invite well-deserved criticism and ridicule of my own rough-cornered writing.  But then, I'm not claiming to raise the standards of corporate communications here. Just hanging out, swapping snark with a few blog friends and family...]