Tim Longhurst's Blog

First impressions of Beijing – Live from the highway

July 28th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Arrived in Beijing from London Heathrow this morning. Only been here a few hours but I’ve had time to post my first video journals to YouTube:

(Updated links thanks to Katie)

Stepping off the plane…

Straight into a Coca-Cola billboard…

Reporting from a taxi…

They’re all on my YouTube Channel

Have I arrived in an Olympic city? Yes I have. The massive Beijing Airport (home of the PEK airport code) is as large and as modern as any airport I’ve ever seen. Banners, billboards and signs for the Olympics are everywhere, along with countless volunteers…

Our taxi driver didn’t speak ONE WORD of English, and even the locals trying to tell him where I was going seemed flustered. I think it may be a’ cultural thing’ to yell here more than in the West, so maybe he wasn’t as angry as he seemed…

Touching down, the thick pollution in the air is the first thing you notice; stepping off plane its the heat.

The first piece of communication I saw didn’t read “Welcome to Beijing”, it was a Coca-Cola billboard. Acually, the first two signs that greeted me when I stepped off the plain were Coca-Cola billboards. A nice touch for those who know of my previous involvement with the Zero Coke Movement.

Well, I’m off to explore the city. I’ll have my camera with me and my aim is to document my experience of Beijing for my clients, collegues, family and friends back home (that’s in alphabetical order). New friends also welcome!

Zai Jien for now!

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Cars with ads: driving new ideas into the community

August 17th, 2005 · No Comments

kahdo.jpgThere is a marketing company operating in Sydney called Kahdo. Their business model is simple: they lease cars “wrapped in advertising” to people for $35 a week (not including insurance or petrol). According to the Kahdo website, drivers:

  • Are penalized if they don’t drive 500km in a designated area (fines can be as high as $624 a month)
  • Must accept all advertising provided from time to time without question
  • Must park their cars in the street (or public parking stations) as opposed to in a lock up garage

The company’s website claims their product “cuts through clutter by immersing itself within the consumer’s lifestyle landscape”, but of course, car advertisements are simply part of the clutter.

I could write about how putting ‘ad-wrapped’ cars on the road simply to meet obligations to advertisers creates unnecessary traffic and pollution, but I can do better than that:

Cars wrapped in advertisements are a fantastic new forum for self-expression and creativity…

Walking home yesterday, I saw a “Smart” car (oxymoron) that had this logo on its side:


Taking the advice of the slogan, someone had decided to “tell it like it is”. Scrawled underneath the logo in thick marker were the words “ADVERTISING ON CARS SUCKS”.

Given that the drivers of ad-cars are happy to drive around in vehicles covered in words, and since the cars’ duco is protected by a vinyl coating, there really couldn’t be a better type of vehicle to write on.

It seems that people have taken to carrying thick permanent markers with them as they “immerse themselves” in their “lifestyle landscape” (formerly known as strolling through the neighbourhood).

With billboards now within arms’ reach, citizens are now exchanging ideas and opinions with their fellow locals via rolling ‘community noticeboards’.

Of course, companies like Kahdo have teams of cleaners that regularly clean the cars and wipe away any citizen creativity, but that simply turns these cars into the Magna-Doodles™ of the new Millennium: as insights and ideas are wiped away, a fresh canvas is presented, ready for the next Artline-wielding social commentator.

Get your pens ready: sharpen your wits, mobile Magna-Doodles™ are rolling out and it’s time for Sydney’s creativity to shine.

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Category: Corporate craziness