Tags: poster campaigns

14 Oct 2007, Comments Off on Ad Nauseam: Connex again

Ad Nauseam: Connex again

Author: Helen

Look, folks, it’s not rocket science. If you’re* providing a crappy, substandard service; if you’re struggling to meet targets that the publicly owned system met back in 1951 (and some of your vehicles and equipment are about that old, too); if your stock is owned by a government that’s been reduced to buying rusty old carriages that have been standing in a paddock (leading to who knows what safety issues); if your trains are becoming known as substitutes for sardine tins and your trains and stations are dangerous places to be because you won’t employ staff to keep them safe, or sell tickets…

Then if you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising and PR, don’t be surprised if people just hate you more. (Note to the Liberal party and other political incumbents: this works for you, too.)
Image from martinmerton.com

On top of all the advertising campaigns we’ve had from Connex this year – I’ve counted about four separate poster campaigns on the go – now we’ve got the intensely irritating Martin Merton PhD, a character dreamed up by Connex’s advertising suits. Viral marketing, how adorable! Oh, the lovable, zany madcaps. Martin Merton is supposed to be like the archetypal US motivational guru. Check out the online tutorials with such hilarious titles as “legs wide shut” and “putting mute in commuter”. Hours of entertainment!

Self-help expert Dr Martin Merton is currently in Melbourne to launch his new book. After many months spent studying the habits of Melbourne commuters and many weeks analysing hundreds of commuter comments Dr Merton will finally release his findings in his most recent work, There’s No “I” in Carriage.
Once you adopt his simple psychological principles and clinically tested methodologies you will immediately enter a world of passenger-friendly positivity. From now on that warm fuzzy feeling at the base of your stomach will be commuter pride and not the leaked contents of a Souvlaki.

Oh, my sides are splitting already. This lame attempt to win the hearts and minds of the yoof is just sad. The yoof hate them anyway.

There’s also a glossy version of There’s No I in Carriage given out at stations, which looks as if it was quite expensive to produce.

As well as wasting untold $$$ on this crap, Connex is going to introduce a new kind of electronic ticketing system, which is estimated to cost nearly $500 million – even though the present ticketing system isn’t causing as much trouble as all the other problems the system has. After all this, you can be sure we’ll be waiting a few more decades for trains that can cope with Melbourne’s population, cleaner stations and (yes, I’m a wild, romantic fool), station staff.

*It has to be said, Connex, dreadful as it is, has to share responsibility with the Victorian government, which has just renewed its contract and is supposed to take responsibility for the infrastructure. Their responsible minister has said, straight out, “Do I want to run a train system? I don’t think so.”