Billboards are easily the best way to be seen if you’re a hopeful politician. A good billboard and marketing plan can be the difference between visibility and invisibilty. But a bad billboard can undo a whole lot of the gains a month or two of baby kissing and businessman brown-nosing offers.
Last election I invited a team of Auckland experts to run a critical eye over the billboards of Palmy's council hopefuls. I couldn't afford them this year, but got in a similar group of Whanganui professionals for their views. They bought their own alcohol and a wealth of ignorance about Palmy's political scene...and the results were...interesting. Here's what they had to say about Pat Kelly's handiwork:
We were all sitting around a 3D model of Pat Kelly’s sign trailer trying to figure out why we were feeling uneasy.
“S. I. C. K. O. P. H. A. N. T. Is that how you spell sickophant?” asked Steve Choo of Whanganui’s most prestigious design studio, The Most Prestigious Whanganui Design Studio Ltd.
Designers are notoriously bad at spelling.
“What’s a sickophant?" Asked Daphne Demente of Demente’d Design.
Designers have notoriously bad vocabularies.
I reached for the Urban Dictionary, the designer’s go-to in these instances.
Under the correctly spelled entry “sycophant” was this helpful definition:
Sycophant: Someone who kisses ass to get ahead in life, often claiming positions above hardworking people.
ie: I told the boss he had a nice ass and now i'm a partner.
This was no help at all.
“Kelly isn’t a sycophant - sycophants like to brown-nose people in power. Calling him a sycophant implies Kelly thinks that voters actually have more than token power when it comes to running councils,” suggested Daphne in a moment of unusual lucidity. “No-one believes that! Kelly’s being obsequious.”
“Bull-shit! What’s with all the fancy-schmancy words? He’s being smarmy! This is the creepiest political sign I’ve seen in my career! Pat Kelly wants to give the good folks of Manawatu a KIND reminder to vote for him? F*** off! Diaries are for reminders. Diaries are useful...not KIND!
“And what happens if I forgot to put “Must Vote for Pat Kelly” in my diary? Guess what? It won’t happen cos I’m never going to vote for Pat Kelly!”
Gary was frothing by this time.
“And what’s Mr Kelly offering voters anyway...his thanks? What does that give them? A cleaner river? Smooth footpaths? A functional bus service? This sign just comes across as a self-centred vanity project that misses the political mark.”
“THANK YOU for your support! J**z W*yne! I haven’t supported him. I’m from Whanganui! What a d***!” Gary from Gary’s Groovy Graphics had had a hard day, so please excuse his rudeness.
Please, please, pretty please. Thank you.
“A polite politician is like a blind electrician. A deaf piano tuner. A dead undertaker. Useless!” With that Gary went outside for a ciggie. A real ciggie...not one of those pretend, electric, nice ciggies that don’t kill.
Brian Brain (retired), formerly of Whanganui Advertising firm Brainy Ideas Inc., then chose to speak up. We hadn’t heard much of Brian as he was usually asleep in the office Lazy Boy. As he looked Pat Kelly’s billboard up and down he asked: “Who is that nice young man.” Then went back to his sleep and his dreams of yesteryear.
He may be past it, but Brian’s observations were correct. Pat Kelly, who is at least 93 years old is looking younger than ever on this billboard. He’s clearly been to the Karen Naylor School of Photoshop Surgery as he doesn’t look a day over 35.
We chose to give Pat’s sign 10 stars. This review was the first time we’d had to use a dictionary and we will be forever grateful to Pat for the inspiration.
In the days of rubies, surgical knives and hot wax, the Bromide Room was where a designer could go to breath some toxic air, get away from the boss, and talk shit with someone from the production department. It's been a long time since then...but hopefully the shit I talk here is a fitting tribute to the days when the only thing that I really knew about design was that it was the only thing I
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