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Reaching the Facebook Generation Theme of Communications Conference
Age of Persuasion co-creator Mike Tennant will speak at the May 15, 2009, Going Barefoot conference for communicators in churches or church-related organizations.

Mike Tennant, co-creator and co-producer of the popular CBC Radio One show The Age of Persuasion, will be the keynote speaker at the May 15, 2009 Going Barefoot II conference for communicators at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) in Winnipeg.

Tennant has a wealth of experience in communication…

Tennant, a veteran writer and broadcaster based in Kitchener, Ontario, will address the conference theme of Reaching the Facebook Generation. He will be joined by Gayle Goosen, founder and owner of Barefoot Creative, also in Kitchener, Ontario, who will share the results of a survey of youth media habits conducted for the Going Barefoot II conference.

"The Facebook generation is very much like the rich young man who asked Christ what he must do to have eternal life," says Tennant. "When he didn't like what he heard, he 'changed channels' and left."

At the same time, he adds, "the Facebook generation can spot a phoney almost instantly. That's a peril for inauthentic brands, who are exposed, vilified, virtually tarred, virtually feathered, and shown the door. But that also gives Christianity a head-start. After all, what's more authentic than the love of Christ?"

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Tennant has a wealth of experience in communication, having been involved in the field since 1977 when he wrote a weekly youth/humour column for Toronto's Sunday Star. In the 1980s he was a copywriter for contemporary and alternative music radio stations in Regina, Calgary and Toronto; since the 1990s he's worked as a freelance ad copywriter, creating radio campaigns for such brands as Pepsi and Toys R Us. His ad work has won Clio Awards and Gold Medals at the New York Advertising Festivals.

In 1995 he became the advertising columnist for CBC Radio's Definitely Not the Opera. In 2005, with colleague Terry O'Reilly, he created, wrote and produced the highly popular 25-part CBC Radio series O'Reilly on Advertising. They followed that with the equally popular series: The Age of Persuasion. Now in its third season, it explores the countless ways advertising and marketing have permeated every aspect of 21st century culture. Their book, The Age of Persuasion, is scheduled for publication by Knopf, Canada in the autumn, 2009.

Mike, his wife Lorrie, and their three teenagers attend Kitchener Mennonite Brethren Church, where he leads Christian education classes on media and current events.

Going Barefoot II is sponsored by CMU, Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Church Manitoba, MCC Canada and the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. Also attending the 2009 event will be members of the Canadian Church Press, which is holding its annual convention in conjunction with Going Barefoot II.

The first Going Barefoot conference for people who work in communications for churches or church-related organizations was a success, with over 135 people attending the event at CMU in October, 2007. The keynote speaker was Reginald Bibby of the University of Lethbridge.

For more information, or to register, go to

John Longhurst is the director of communications and marketing for the Canadian Mennonite University. Phone: 487.3300.

Originally published on the CMU Website, February 2, 2009.




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