Posts Tagged 'advertising'

One for Don Watson

And I quote (from the back label of a bottle of freaking spring water for crap’s sake):

“It is the co-operation and strength of human character that has inspired us to develop KOKODA KANTEEN Legendary Water.”

So legendary indeed that “Legendary Water” mysteriously became a proper noun, never mind the fact that I’ve been misspelling “kanteen” my entire life.

Is this what the Aussie genuflection to the Kokoda myth has been dragged down to? We have arrived at the logical nadir of it all: just shy of seventy years after the desperate blood-and-muck drenched events of the Kokoda Track campaign we have, finally, the mass-produced bottle of water we all desperately needed to truly and spiritually round out our reverie.

I feel like yelling a pretty harsh expletive at whoever came up with that crap on the bottle – you know the word, four letters, definitely NOT starting with “k”…

Crorect sellping is vitla

My interest in PNG’s newspapers ebbs and flows, depending on how one feels on any given day about reading yet another litany of bad governance, disasters, dodgy dealings and lofty moralising (not to mention garbled sentences, clause overloads and misplaced vocabulary).

Nonetheless, some days bring bright little gems. Like a small headline in today’s National, down the bottom of page 7:

“Communication vitla for growth”.

This was enough for me. To paraphrase Bill Hicks – it’s base irony but I like it. It’s a hoooot.

But if one dares read on:

“…to ensure that the service delivery mechanism was effective and result-oriented, the system to be used must be transparent where information and communication services should be strategically planned and the mass media fully used to enhance better public participation and consumption.”

This is enough to make a piece of my brain go *TILT!* like an old pinball machine, and this is far from the worst example I’ve seen. I feel like I’m in one of Don Watson’s more febrile nightmares when I read this. Later the Professor (does that answer some questions?) quoted also is on the record as saying “Reviewing social and cultural mileu, he said a strategy had to be planned to set the tone for a new role of communication to society.”

This is in a newspaper people. Not that this kind of stuff should be excused in the lofty world of academia, but for everyday readership? Uhhh… last time I looked copy/paste is not journalism. And there’s bigger issues at play, mired in this kind of cumbersome dreck – but maybe the phrase colonisation of the mind doesn’t necessarily cross everyone’s thoughts at these moments.

Moving on from deep issues – on another page in the same paper there’s an ad for some competition being run to promote a brand of tinned meat. It’s one of my favourites right now:

“WIN A LIVE PIG or K800 CASH! You choose!”

So the answer to today’s big question is…?

PS (a couple of days later): The National Broadcasting Service (NBC) has a new-ish TV station, a commendable effort with some commendable shows. Not enough to sate our forlorn longing for Kerry at 7.30, but laudable nonetheless.

For example, there’s a regular show called ‘Talk Balk’, the premise being that people call up and ask questions of public service chiefs and government ministers (that’s the ‘talk’ bit), who then proceed to either answer the questions live or ‘balk’ at them, like a horse jumping at a sudden movement in the shrubbery or my daily reaction to the idea of hard work. ‘Talk Balk’ should not be confused with the popular mass media concept of ‘talk back’, even though the concepts might be uncannily similar… (I’m sorry olgeta, they say sarcasm is the lowest form of humour, an adage I’m happy to disregard when it suits me).

PPS: I have also sadly noted that the menu at the local Korean restaurant has been revised, and my favourite dishes of ‘fried lice’ and ‘cream crap corn soup’ have been removed… Chingrish humour in Port Moresby. Who woulda thunk it?

And lo!

And lo! the Good Prophet came down from the mountain.

And the people rejoiced and greeted the Good Prophet with upraised arms.

Actually that’s just the GeeGee busting a move during the warm-up session at the Sir Anthony Siaguru Walk Against Corruption, which a silly dimdim familiar to some of you was heavily (too heavily) involved in organising.

The picture and link are on Ilya’s blog. Ilya is the AAP man in PNG and probably responsible for many of the ghastly stories you read about PNG in the Australian media, but the Walk Against Corruption DID make it into the Sydney Morning Herald so in true communications hack style I must hail him as a gentleman and true professional for getting my issue in press. Also, seeing as he did me the courtesy of announcing the presence of my blog on his own I felt I must return the favour – even though he DID out my secret identity and place of employment. Oh well. Bruce Wayne I aint…

Televisual travesties

Despite best efforts I haven’t been able to unfurl much glorious prose to pay tribute to the fantastic Madang-Goroka holiday we had during the silly season. In part this is because of what I said earlier – writing is hard. Much of the holiday was scenic, yet there’s nothing more laborious to write – and, often, to read – than rolling descriptions of landscapes, figures of speech piled atop each other like the hills and mountains that are the object of evocation.

Another reason why my attempts have fallen short is that television has made a loud re-entry into our lives. Originally we accepted the thing because we knew there was only one channel on free-to-air TV here (actually there’s also a public station that broadcasts only a few hours daily, and a 24-hour bible-bashing channel as well). ‘We’ll watch the news every now and then’.

Test cricket didn’t help. Then came the Twenty/20 games and the one-dayers. Meanwhile the nightly EM-TV news has continued to surprise and amuse us with both its shoddy production and Channel 9 material (even the theme music is the same as Channel 9 news!), and A Current Affair’s vulgarity sucks us in like a great whirlpool – we’re doomed, but we have no hope of escape. Then comes Temptation – ‘quiz show! quiz show!’ I exclaim nightly, before indulging in half an hour of whistful ‘I’d be such a great quiz show champion’ reverie. Then – who knows. Tok Piksa is actually half decent. The other night it featured a retrospective show on the Sepik Crocodile festival, with footage of guys in full ceremonial regalia dancing around with live grown crocodiles strapped to their backs! Other nights we emerge, baffled and dazed, after having sat through the duration of some rugby show. (Not even a Rugby League show, which would at least have local credibility, but an imported Rugby Union show. Yes, Union. I sicken myself.) Thus far I have not succumbed to any of the shitty American movies screened by EM-TV, although Kit’s resistance has crumbled – last night she inflicted a lame Nicole Kidman & Sandra Bullock romantic comedy on herself. ‘Our Nic’ and the Bullock (the name says it all) played a pair of latter-day witches in search of love. I went in search of a porcelain bowl to vomit in, before retiring with the almost-equally painful ‘The Constitution of Liberty’ by F.A. Hayek.

Excepting the cricket, the programs on EM-TV has no chance however when compared with the ads – in terms of production value, ingenuity, or just pure dodgy hilarity. Advertising on TV here is equally as infuriating as in Australia, equally as loud, but thoroughly addictive nonetheless. The best ads are those with original jingle lyrics. We dutifully chime in with ‘Ela Motors! Ela Motors your first choice!’ at the end of every Hino truck ad. We enjoy the afroed antics of Henry Wopa who went on holiday (a Wopa breakfast biscuit sent him on his way… he ate one on the mountain, he ate one by the sea, he took them to the singsing and he shared them happily…). We sit awestruck by the advertising hegemony of Brian Bell retail stores (separate ads for sports equipment, Puk Puk brand hardware, electronics, and the new home centre). We wonder why we never actually see ‘real’ PNGeans cavorting in the ocean with their Yamaha outboards like in the (other) Ela Motors ad. We also wonder at the mindset of an advertiser whose slogan for a new range of laptops is ‘small but terrible’ (the laptops come with Linux operating system so maybe they really meant it), and marvel constantly at the ingenuity of the names given to mobile sawmills – the six inch model is called ‘Model 6’, while the eight inch model is called ‘Model 8’. There is also a ten inch model but the name is not divulged in the ad – guesses anyone? And there is always, always time to sing along with the Tablebirds chicken song – ‘Mama save kukim yu! Pikinini laikim yu! Papa tu! Bubu tu! Tablebirds tasol!

But nothing, NOTHING matches the overpowering genius of ‘Klina Meri’. First, you take a jungle directly ripped off from the Tom Jones song ‘She’s a Lady’. Then you get a montage of well-dressed PNG ladies (ie, mostly wearing meri blouses) of various ages performing their domestic duties while looking dazed yet happily at the cameras displaying the product in question – an all purpose soap – in a hand that swings left and right, left and right. How that klina meri soap swings hypnotically! The true value of this ad is only understandable when you render the lyrics from Tok Pisin into English (don’t forget to sing to the tune of the Tom Jones song):

Klina meri i gat groove (cleaner woman she’s got groove)
klina meri i gat style (cleaner woman she’s got style)
trupela meri (true woman)

Laikim yu, nating tru (I love you like nothing else)
Yu never gonna get a beta meri (You’ll never get a better woman)

And the refrain:

Klina meri! (Cleaner woman!)
woah woah woah
klina meri! (Cleaner woman!)
o klina meri (o cleaner woman!)
klina meri bilong mi (My cleaner woman!)

Then finish with the family shot of a younger klina meri, her no doubt utterly pristine husband and daughter, with the slogan – strongpela sop, gutpela smel (strong soap, good smell).

Goodbye, brain!