Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Power of Advertising (To lose customers).

I'll leave the cute storytelling aside for today, I just want to rant about something quickly.

Isn't this CUTE?! What a great idea! And that sofa looks so comfortable!

"Yes", "No", and "So what?"

I call this 'Piranha Advertising', and it works like this: You get a team of creatives together to conceptualise your new campaign. These people are very clever, and think to a brief for a living.

"So what sucks about tram stops the most?" "Oh- I hate those hard seats they have in there." "Let's put a sofa in there!" "YES! And the sofa can reflect the comfort and security you will feeling dealing with ING direct!" "Oh yeah, we're gonna win an award for this for sure!" "Let's make sure the sofa is the right shade of orange to tie in with ING's corporate identity." "Yeah, and let's bolt that fucker down so poor people can't steal it".

See how clever they are?

Not very-. In a town the size of Melbourne, complete strangers aren't likely to feel comfortable sharing a 2-seater sofa with a complete stranger first thing in the morning while on their way to work. And I'm sure everyone else who is missing out on sitting down will be wondering why Yarra Trams let an unrelated corporate entity rip out the much more accomodating seating that was there, so Yarra Trams could make more money, but their customers just get inconvenienced. A lot like those full tram ads that cover all the windows, so tourists who want to take photos can't. Again, because Yarra Trams have sold the window space to a corporate entity. But wait- I thought WE paid for a seat with a view, when we purchased a tram ticket? Who's "fare evading" now?

I call it piranha advertising for one reason. While retaining the services of creatives, and coming up with clever campaigns that grab your attention, and spending thousands and thousands of dollars to decorate a tram stop might be no big deal to ING, all it does to people who think is, it jumps up and bites them in the ass.

Because if they can spend all that money on nothing much, on just a simple ad, where does that money come from?


And if they can waste all that money of yours on a campaign, that suggests that they have a great deal of (your) money to throw around on expensive ad campaigns. And if they have a lot of money for that, it means they have a lot of YOUR money for that.

So what?

It means they're charging you too much. It means the profits they derive from the service they provide, are inflated to the point they can pretty much throw them around on zany ideas that could have been even more effectively carried out and much cheaper, had they used better creatives (ie: a simple video aimed at maximum virality).

ING are saying "Look at how much money we have, therefore how successful we are", when really it means "Look how much we're ripping you off."

It's not accepted generally to sell the same thing twice, to two different buyers. If you buy a house with a view, then the realtor sells the windows to a billboard company, someone is paying a big fine.

But when you buy a tram ticket, and if you're one of the first 4 people to arrive at a stop, you should expect to be able to sit down, and you should expect to see clearly out of the tram windows. How are you meant to see your stop sometimes, when the windows are covered in ads, and it's after dark?

These things shouldn't be sold, because we have already paid for them- with our tickets. Let's not get into how Yarra Trams spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with ads demonising fare evaders as they call them. Again, Piranha advertising! They can afford to blow that much money on ads telling people what we all already know, then they're MAKING TOO MUCH MONEY ALREADY.

Ultimately, these ads have the reverse affect for their creators, as public sentiment slowly rises, to the point where people hate the corporation, have no sympathy for the corporation, actively seek to do business with anyone else but that corporation.

They're spending money to make people go some place else.

Looks like the clever creatives at Saatchi and Saatchi or wherever else didn't think of that...

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The shortest story.

The little girl began to cry when her Father began to use the shovel. "Daddy- you're making a hole in the world!"

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Photographer.

I met an old man at a tram stop last week, Friday, my last day of work.

I got electrocuted, it was their fault.

The old man and I sat on the aluminium seat at opposite ends, I didn't think we'd speak until we did. He mentioned something about the frequency of trams, not in an acoustic sense, but in an "I hope I get to work on time" sense.

I did, in case you were wondering.

The conversation went to politics, as it often does with old men, and I asked him what his trade was, what he did for work.

He said he was a photographer.

I've always admired photographers. I learned the rules in design school, but never connected to them. My breath is always taken by good cinematography, I think they have magic eyes. And photographers too, how they see frames hanging in the air where we just see the ocean, the sky, a tree in front of it.

Even those Real Estate liars who make small damp houses look like Caribbean Hotels, they've got the eye, they just use it for evil. Printing money with their retinas, swapping promise for currency, termites wait on the periphery.

And so I respected this old man, he was one of the few- a visionary, a recorder of history. I listened to his words, and balanced them out carefully. And I found they allied themselves with my own, which silently pleased me.

And so he asked me, "Would you like to see one?", and I said "Sure."

And he told me to close my eyes, which seemed odd for a photograph, but maybe he was part-showman as well. Maybe he relished the big reveal, like those people in home makeover programmes do, or TV shows about previously fat people.

So I closed my eyes, and I left the grey Melbourne morning, and entered the warm, padded darkness of the inside of my skull. Blood pulsed around me in its tunnels. His voice spoke, and it said:

"There is sand in his boots, under the straps of his helmet. His eyes are glassy with tears he can't show, and all he wants is to hold her again."

And then "Would you like another?"

"Yes", I thought I really would.

"The soft blossoms are lit from behind by the blue sky, glowing pink like a freshly rinsed newborn. Their fragile faces wave to the breeze."

And I basked in it...the gentle spring, warmed by the sun, cooled by a soft wave of air sporadically, I'd never heard birdsong in a photograph before.

I turned to ask what he meant by all this, but when I opened my eyes he was gone.

And in his place was a photograph, of me, eyes closed, smiling in a tram stop in the rain.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Rising sadness.

Now is not the time to pour myself into this keyboard...I have to work soon, and work is filled with responsibility. I'm responsible for the lives and safety of two-hundred and fifty human souls. I can't cry there.

I made a typo. "I have to work son". Then I corrected it. I wonder if I will ever say those words in real life, to a child that needs me? I don't believe that I will.


I avoid mirrors. I can't stop time from advancing, and other peoples assertion that that advance is significant has taken root in me. Am I really less valuable now, just because more time has passed?

And I thought of an old friend, and reached out. This friend is wise, wise and crazy. My friend seems so carefree, taken by the wind, and floating above the world, yet so wise from all they have witnessed. Smiling, but watchful. Making a joke, while analysing the horizon.

We used to be inseparable, but the time was wrong, and we both had other directions to grow in. Now we have totally different lives, in different countries, with different people. But I still love my friend.

And I think about how few friends I really have, how rare the friendships that I maintain. How no-one knows me any more, the me in here.

My friend wrote back, first time in years, and highlighted all of the parts of them that had changed, until it looked like my friend was coloured in bright yellow. I left it too long. I was scared they might not care.

I have to be honest. And when someone says that it shows you that being honest is not something they normally do. So you caught me out right there. But my feeling is that as much as I hide the real me, the one that only comes out when I break down, I have to admit there is so much I can't love in here.

I ride a machine, and I say ride, because I'm sure as hell not driving. And it takes me to places I feel like I have no choice in going. And I can't work out how to short circuit this machine, this body. So it will do what I need, not what it wants.

I look around, everyone has machines of their own. But some of them steer them, slow them down, speed them up. And I can't work it out. I'm in here.

So this isolation, that I reinforce by absence, that I defend vigorously. It defeats me. I defeat me.

Because I called my heart this morning. And it told me all it wants, is to be missed.

Tears fell out, the pain made noises, I breathed like I was feeling pleasure.

So while my friend floats above the world, I feel like I'm even further away, watching the whole thing on TV.

My fear, my prison.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Just a thought...part Two.

Oh please oh please oh please...can I serve you some more, you ungrateful bastards?

*People often rush up to me on the street and beg me to solve their lifes problems.

I'm a **famous blogger. My name, is 'knifey'.

Recently, instead of staying up all night researching topics, and feeling tired and trigger happy when I go to work the next day, I decided to do a series of thoughts... things that occur to me when I should be doing other things, and note them here. Maybe they can grow up to be big blogs in future, or maybe just something to think about.

I was ruminating on the feminist movement, and all of the finger pointing that has often accompanied it. Of course men get blamed a lot, and that's because they did it.

But in just the same way as women allowed themselves to be dominated over by a patriarchal husband-figure (to a degree) by convention and societal expectations of the time, so too, were men playing a part.

As wrong as it is, if you grow up with a nigger breaking his back in the paddock for your parents, not only are you probably going to think "Well, that's the way it is", but also wonder where you're going to get a nigger of your own when you buy a farm as well. I use that word on purpose, because if you're shocked by it, you're on the right path.

So in the case of the 1950's nuclear family, I think that men were just trying to be men in the main, obeying their parents conventions, societies expectation, and womens desire to be loved by men. But also, religions demand for maintenance of the status quo. Religion used to play a much larger role in society and family than it does today- even families that didn't really believe in the whole God thing would go to Church on a Sunday, because
it was expected.

Men grew up with a woman in the kitchen, so why would it occur to them to change that? Change wasn't big in the 50's. And I know it causes outrage to think that Dad comes home after work, and gets served by a woman who spent all day cleaning the house, looking after the children, and trying to keep her makeup perfect; but in the minds of men, they were paying the mortgage, car payments, and putting food on the table, so why not? Besides, Mum did it too.

Clueless idiots? Sure! Evil overlords? Maybe not so much...

So apart from the higher-ups that thought up the systems the rest of society lived by, I think mens main crime was a crime of ignorance.

I know as much as it was frowned upon to divorce back then, men also suffered their whole lives under societies expectation... trapped in marriages they maybe never wanted in the first place. Society says: "Think of the children" (which religion says it is your job to create, and to do so within wedlock, and blah blah blah...)

So I put it to you that men were controlled too, and while I in no way seek to belittle the suffrage movement or feminism, I think there is a dimension there that is worthy of consideration.

Just a thought...

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

*Not true.

**I wish.

Just a thought...Part One.

The reason we don't have the supertech future all of us (boys) dreamed of, is because the superrich build everything on the cheap with low quality materials and cheap imported labour, and leave the rest of us with nothing, except iPads that we bought ourselves, as a colourful distraction to the fact that not only don't we have amazing spaceports and personal jetcopters; the world is turning into a trash heap that they'll all leave us on to die.

Am I mad about it? Not really- the superrich are pretty goddamned smart, don't you think?
They may be heartless, but they really can see a concept through!

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.