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Labour minister weighs in on local radio contest causing controversy
Published Tuesday, September 6, 2011 5:26PM MDT
Alberta's labour minister is adding his two cents on a local radio station contest where you can "Win a Wife".
The Bear 100.3 is known for some crazy stunts and shock value, but some think the station's latest contest has gone too far.
So far, 64 people have entered the "Win a Wife" contest. The winner gets a trip to Russia and a so-called chance at love with the help of a matchmaking service offered by Volga Girl.
The concept has outraged provincial cabinet minister Thomas Lukaszuk. He notes that he has decided to pull all ads from his ministry.
"While you're running [an] ad contest that I find personally reprehensible. I find it very difficult to be running government advertising at your radio station at that very same time," he said.
The usually outspoken radio station is not speaking up, only releasing a written statement:
"A concept similar to many other such contests held on reality TV shows over the past few years around the world. The same rigorous selection criteria and principles of mutual consent, respect, and freedom of choice for each participant are at the heart of this contest."
But the station's explanation isn't sitting well with some.
"For women I'd say ya, that's going too far, like who wants to be a prize?" said Nelly Dunn.
One marketing expert suggests the ultimate prize is ratings, saying in a competitive market many will resort to all kinds of ways to get attention and revenue from advertising.
"To attract attention, media exposure to help them in the ratings," said Adam Finn with the University of Alberta.
And it's a gimmick attracting the attention of some Edmontonians.
"It's a flight to Russian why not?" said Aaron Lau.
Lukaszuk didn't know how many ads have been pulled or how much money that translated to. He did say the station is cut off from the ministry for the time being.
Contest finalists will be judged on character assessment live on air, from friends and family along with a psychological assessment based on their suitability for marriage. And if not satisfied, the Russian woman has the right to revoke any part of the contest.
With files from Serena Mah