A segment on the July 26 episode of John Oliver’s brilliantly hilarious HBO show Last Week Tonight skewered Ottawa over news that the city may not only be the second coldest national capital in the world (behind Ulan Bator) but also the infidelity capital (ahead of Kathmandu). The genesis of the piece was the rather surprising revelation that one in five Ottawa residents are registered on ashleymadison.com, a website for people looking to cheat on their spouses.
In introducing the segment, Oliver described Ottawa as, “The town known by locals as the city that fun forgot, and which once genuinely adopted the slogan ‘Technically Beautiful’.”
My jaw dropped when I heard those last two words. Those magical, masterful words. Back when this ill-fated slogan was adopted (very briefly) by Ottawa, I was a writer at the ad agency that came up with it. Myself and my fellow worker ants in the studio pointed out the obvious to the Powers That Be – this phrase would not be well received by the public. Its message is, of course, ‘Technically Beautiful… But In Reality Its A Hole’. I suggested that, if they liked those two words in tandem, why not go with ‘Beautifully Technical’ instead? However, the Powers That Be proved to be the Powers That Be Silly. Fortunately, city council killed the slogan both technically and actually dead.
Until last Sunday, when John Oliver brought it back to life and killed with it.