Reader alert: This column may appear to contain information about Canada’s brand image problem but it’s really an excuse to write about Ryan Gosling. Why? Cuz.
With the release of his new film, The Place Beyond the Pines, where he co-stars with real-life girlfriend Eva Mendes, Gosling’s popularity keeps zooming up. Obviously he’s a talented actor but one of the keys to his international success might just be his un-Canadian accent. Gosling was born in London, Ontario. He dropped out of school at 17 to focus on acting, starting out as a Muskeeter along with Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. Along the way he tossed his Canadian accent by the roadside because, as he has said in interviews, “It doesn’t sound tough.”
This is yet another dent in Canada’s Charisma-meter. We’re always behind in the branding game. This might explain why Canada is often used as a stand-in for America or Europe in feature films. You hear things like, “Toronto is like New York, but, like without all the stuff.” New York even rates its own line of best-selling perfumes made by a company called Bond No. 9 and inspired by different neighborhoods like Noho, Park Avenue, Central Park West or posh resort towns like Sag Harbour. The company even sells a line of Andy Warhol perfumes.
Celebrities and brands each have a Q-score. This is an ever fluctuating measurement of consumer appeal. The higher the score, the better the brand is at monetization. One would guess that Gosling must have a very high score these days. On the other hand, Canada’s Q-score is likely fair-to-middling.
What Canada needs is a Q-score booster shot. We need to hitch a ride on Gosling’s rising star and re-brand ourselves, as Gosling has done, as cool/hot/sexy/tough. Our charm offensive should start subliminally with an olfactory seduction. Taking a page from Bond No. 9, how about a line of fragrances inspired by, who else, Gosling himself. Instead of a perfume called “Manhattan”, we’ll have one called “London, Ontario!” Instead of Warhol, we’ll have Eau de Gosling—an aromatic riff on the actor running on the beach with his dog George: sea air, wet dog, sweaty Gosling. Armani eat your heart out, this baby is gonna fly off the store shelves.
The next step: Change the way we talk. Is the accent really the problem? I don’t think so. It’s our chronic overuse of the word ‘sorry.’ Gosling has said that he has tried to imitate Marlon Brando’s speech patterns. I doubt Brando apologized to chairs and walls if he bumped into them. Canadians should toughen up. If we happen to collide with a table, too bad for the table.
Lastly, we’ve got to watch our weight. Gosling is one hunk of man and he has been known to gain weight for different roles. But, here’s the thing, it’s muscle weight, not Timbit tonnage. He and George practically go everywhere together. Studies show that having a dog is great for our mental and physical health.
So, Canada, there you have it. The key to juicing our Q-Score is: More dogs, fewer Timbits. More sass; fewer ‘sorrys’. And a lot more… Ryan Gosling.
Image credit: Captain Canuck wallpaper by Ash4Fire @ DeviantArt.