Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More stupid advertising

I have to catch public transport everyday. As a result I am exposed to a hell of a lot of advertising - at the stations, on trams, in trams, on buses and even on metcards. Lately, Flinders St. Station has been covered with ads for commercial radio broadcaster Triple M and their AFL Football commentary team. You know the drill; a picture of 5 blokey looking men accompanied by 'witty' slogans. The problem is that these ads don't make any sense at all, as I shall endeavour to illustrate. There are 3 different slogans used on these advertisements:

1. "Sorry, we couldn't afford a stylist." You know what? I'll bet they did employ a stylist for the making of these ads. I realise that they're going for a blokey image but no one does anything in the media today without a stylist on hand. I'll bet they employed someone to make sure their subjects looked blokey in the exact blokey style the station wanted. Are we seriously expected to believe that they were willing to do the photo shoot with whatever outfits these guys happened to throw on that morning? They're spending thousands of dollars on their ad campaign and plastering them on billboards all over Melbourne. When you're faced with the prospect of having to rely on the dress-sense of AFL football commentators, you'd be a fool not to hire a stylist.

2. "Who said boy bands were dead?" Criticism #1. They're not boys. Criticism #2. They're not a band. The 'joke' doesn't work on any level. Does anyone even proof-read this drivel before it gets approval? People that work in commercial radio are so funny! All they have to do is mindlessly drop a daggy or retro pop culture reference and they'll have me in stitches! Not.

3. "Where moustaches are still cool" It's quite striking to notice that only 1 guy out of the 5 guys in the picture has a moustache. If moustaches are so cool, how come only 1/5 of the people featured in the ad actually has one? It's like looking at a group of people, 4 of whom have moustaches, 1 of whom doesn't and remarking 'That must be where not having moustaches is still cool". I think I understand what they're going for here (see 'daggy or retro pop culture reference' above) but it hardly seems worth mentioning a feature possessed by a tiny minority of their commentary team.

So what point am I making (if any)? These ads are demonstrably inane and are presumably indicative of the audience Triple M wants to attract. Ask yourself if you want to be part of that audience.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Creationist poem

There are some people here on planet Earth,

Who think that after death there is rebirth,

Convinced despite the evidence

(Likewise ignoring sediments that prove Earth's age as surely as its girth).

There are some folk who tow the bible line,

And in their books and speeches they opine,

That every fin and spiracle

Must represent God's miracle and every eye and tooth built from design.

There are men and women living in the dark,

Who're sure that dinosaurs were on the ark,

They won't abide with fossils

Disagreeing with apostles (and they won't let their kids watch Jurassic Park).

Such people trust in musty, dusty texts,

Upon which they base all their cults and sects,

With every contradiction

There comes more and more conviction that it's Jesus and not nature that selects.

Everyone has freedom to believe,

In arks and Gods and Adam, snakes and Eve,

But to have such proud defiance

To discoveries of science and using all your talents to deceive,

- You may think you're pious but you're really just naive.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Save the dolphins

I love animals. I love every single species irrespective of how un-photogenic they are or how reviled they are by society at large. I love centipedes, jellyfish, squids - the most touching encounter I ever had with an animal was with a sea urchin. It always pisses me off that many other people have such a low tolerance for these fascinating, charming animals and yet you show these same people a tiger or a dolphin and suddenly they start babbling on like they want to go to bed with it. Noone really cares about the imminent extinction of the Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish. Dolphins on the other hand, enjoy significantly better P.R. The high profile status of dolphins was, unfortunately, not enough to prevent the extinction of the Yangtze River Dolphin, Lipotes vexillifer (or 'Baiji') of China. An international team recently conducted a comprehensive survey of the Baiji's habitat and have concluded that the river dolphin is extinct. The Baiji was an unusual animal, having evolved in isolation for about 20 million years. Rivers are muddy places with virtually no visibility, a condition which resulted in the highly developed sonar adaptations the almost blind Baijis used for catching fish. However, the constant boat traffic of The Yangtze River interfered with the Baiji's sonar so much that for most of the time it was rendered sonically 'blind'. The reckless activities of humans using destructive and indiscriminate fishing techniques were a major cause of the dolphins' decline. And now they're all dead, the first cetacean (the group of mammals that includes dolphins, whales and porpoises) to be driven to extinction by human activities. The demise of any species is truly tragic, but it is really disheartening to see that even a charismatic animal like the Baiji (which is revered in Chinese folklore as the spirit of a drowned princess) can be allowed to slip into extinction by the humans that share its habitat. What hope have all the un-cute critically endangered animals got?

Yangtze dolphin dissapears - The Age