About Advertise


by Nathan Zeno / 15.05.2009


A billboard campaign to educate people in the city center on energy saving based on the language used in expensive rehabs. The only people that can understand these references are the advertising agency and the government board members who approved it. So there it sits, large and irrelevant, above a taxi rank. Meaningless to all that pass her. A giant waste of money and therefore, errr, energy. One message to the people who came up with this doozy. Save it.

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  1. Teddy says:

    note that this ad was a follow up from all tv ads campaign… so i would assume that most people seeing it would already be familiar with it…! taxi rank???? whats wrong with putting a this kind of language in taxi ranks… is this another believe, by those who fancy themselves literate, that people making use of taxis are illiterate? can’t you also look at a complete different perspective: perhaps it will stimulate those who read it to even seek more knowledge…! eish waitse some people are so quick to judge! …and they call Malema stupid

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  2. Teddy says:

    Oooh..! clearly you could understand it Nathan! perhaps it was meant for you…. Save electricity!

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  3. Nathan Zeno says:

    I never suggested that people who used taxi ranks were illiterate, but that they would be unfamiliar with the parlance of expensive rehabs.

    This is a higher grade web site. It requires that you actually read the text before you comment.

    But here’s a thought. Would it not be easier for people to get the information on the billboard than somehow hoping that people would be inspired by it to go do more reading?

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  4. Anthony says:

    I think you’re severely undercutting the (admittedly limited) cognitive wherewithal of these billboard passers-by. On what planet is “my addiction is hurting our planet” the exclusive parlance of ‘expensive rehabs’? Drug addiction, the phenonemon paralleled in the billboard, extends far beyond the reach of they with pockets a-bulging. It doesn’t take the brightest bulb to draw the connexion between the ills of drug addiction (or any addiction for that matter) and the ills of energy addiction; in this case, if the reader is too dim, the consequence is handed to them in unambiguous language on the billboard itself – ‘[energy addiction] is hurting our planet’.

    Furthermore, expensive rehabs don’t have a stranglehold of the phrase ‘road to recovery’; in fact, far from it. It’s an utterly ubiquitous cliche, and to suggest it’s meaningless to anyone who isn’t familiar with ‘expense rehabs’, it’s quite ridiculous. I will however, agree that it is often used in the context of ‘addiction’ (be it substance abuse or whatever), but that it forms the foundation of a wide variety of community-based, ameliorative, cost-free couselling programmes, precisely because it’s such a simple analogy to process.

    As Teddy so inarticulately said, The National Energy Efficiency Campaign has been using this addiction parallel in a wide array of media to hit home their message. Now, not only do I think this flooding of the media with this message will help get their point across, Idon’t agree that this billboard requires peripheral information to make sense of it. All you need to know, as I’m sure many taxi-drivers know, is what an addiction is, and why an addiction should be avoided. Likening energy wastage to a dark, quotidian phenonemon such as this is, I reckon, an excellent way of reaching a large audience, and giving them a readily accessible parallel against which to measure their wanton energy consumption – See http://www.savingenergy.co.za/recovery/index.php

    Rebuttal, please?

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  5. Nathan Zeno says:

    The fact that Teddy and yourself assume that most of the people who I refer to, the users of taxi ranks, have access or the desire to access to the mass media on the level you suggest shows just how out of touch you may be. Also please note, a large percentage of the people walking through or using taxi ranks do not have access to electricity.

    But this is all by-the-way. My point is simply this, producing advertising in order to educate people should use direct language, that should need no interpretation, otherwise it loses some of it’s purpose and therefore is a waste of energy. Also “hurting our planet” is a bit broad for those who seldom travel further than work and home, maybe “Hurting Our Children’s Future” or even “Hurting Ourselves”?

    Now I could go into a detailed breakdown of rehab parlance over various economic groups but that would be just boring. The bottom line is this, would using the money that was paid to the advertising agency and the government consultants and the billboard placement company have been better spent on educating the government departments and corporations that are the biggest users of electricity in power saving techniques, rather than people who can little afford to waste what they hardly have.

    It’s late and I’m tired, so I won’t get into how ineffective this parallel is to actual addiction and recovery. I will merely state that advertising agencies are generally so self involved and “clever” that they miss the opportunity to communicate effectively and clearly with am identified demographic.

    Also, I was just taking the piss.

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  6. daiquiri girl says:

    okay for starters the billboard is in Durban not Cape Town and it’s primary viewers are the passengers of the 2.5 million cars that travel on this highway per month (Southern Freeway running from Durban International Airport to the Northern Suburbs and CBD), and secondly we’re so glad you’re taking notice of it!

    the first step in behaviour change is to raise awareness of the problem you are addressing and the fact that you’re taking notice means we’re doing our job.

    once we’ve created the context for the message and upped the awareness, watch out for specific tips on how to overcome the addiction.

    so thanks for publicity, keep on talking
    oh and energy addicts – join us on the road to recovery

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  7. Nathan Zeno says:

    Being in Durban, I kinda noticed where it was.

    and oh shit you’ve found us out, we’re actually promoting this campaign. They pay us loads to do this.

    now back to the problem. Okay, let’s say the people in the taxi rank below the freeway are irrelevant for the sake of argument. Those 2.5 million cars are on the road already. Using energy, mostly one person in a car at a time. Seeing as the average car uses only 20% of it’s energy to propel the car (the rest burns off as heat) that means that only 5% of energy expended in that average car is used productively. I see how “My addiction is hurting the planet” conveys that.

    anyway. baby steps.

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