How not to love my ride

I came across a comment made by someone on my Twitter feed. It’s about the jingle that thousands of wee islanders had been subjected to for the past months. It was probably an attempt at breaking the dour monotony of anyone’s daily commute, while it served a reminder for commuters to be civic-minded.

There are thousands of ways to make your point. Now that we’re deep into the not-so-new century now, I am amazed at how – with the amount of technology available – people can simply screw things up when they want to tell the masses something.

Paraphrasing the astute commenter on my Twitter feed, the brand fronting or representing the three actresses would be invariably and (I suspect) irreversibly linked to the public-service-announcement-masquerading-as-a-jingle. My impression has been so scarred by the daily drumming of their strains of singing and the sight-for-sore-eyes clip that there is a higher chance of me running naked in the Esplanade than me watching them on stage – now or in future.

When a simple announcement would have done the job, someone, somewhere must have asked for something slicker, something that the masses can identify with (without considering the fact that the three actress would be more familiar to a certain portion of the demographic while alienating the rest), or something funny. For some inexplicable reason, they have failed to consider how trying to be funny and slick (at the same time) often backfires and there is only so many times one can repeat the same joke before it turns horrifyingly stale.

And has it been effective in changing the habits of most commuters? Will there ever be a report made public about how these jingles were a resounding success?

At the very least, the previous campaign, while as contrived, was not as jarring or irritating. You could choose to turn away when a certain character with gold chains, fake hair and yellow boots interrupt your attempt at finding out how long more you would be the captive audience to these … creative attempts. Now, unless you have a pair of earphones that keeps out the noise, there is no escape.

Can we ask that they bring Juanita back? At least her voice was sexy.

***

There was another “try-too-hard-to-be-too-clever” campaign which made the news recently. It wasn’t just the local rags which reported about a gimmick a creative agency was trying to put together. It made the news on the Beeb.

For the benefit of those who weren’t aware of this, the said agency embarked on some marketing gimmick. They got someone to get into a suit of a furry animal – familiar to the locals only when they see it in the zoo, on the telly or the big screen. They probably dropped this guy-in-an-animal-suit at some place with a sizable human traffic. Their hope is that their little gimmick would catch the imagination of the whole nation and boom! They become the new starlets of the marketing scene.

But it backfired spectacularly when the attention they wanted to draw went the other way. A photo, taken by a passer-by, found its way on some pseudo-citizen journalist website. Before anyone can say “bear”, the men in uniform got involved. It wouldn’t be long before the creative agency found itself under investigation.

Was this gimmick effective? From the coverage it received, it certainly got more attention than it deserved. But it caused some unease amongst the citizenry (although it would be stretching the imagination a bit to find this furry animal in any part of the tropics).

Perhaps this reflects how difficult it is for marketers and advertisers to draw people’s attention to something. You need to dress public service announcements up in jingles. You need people in costumes to draw people’s attention to some gimmick. (Funny enough, can anyone remember what this gimmick is for?)

But in the name of creativity, are they doing the right thing with enough class (and considerations) not to jar or scare the s*** out of us?

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