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 Labour Party's handiwork:
I'd sent my team home to Whanganui. Their work had been a bit disappointing really. We'd hoped to review all of the candidates’ signs before election day but their work rate had been second rate and we'd only got through six signs. Seven if you count Duncan McCann’s cheap Grant Smith knock-off.
Next election I'll be doing what the Manawatu Standard seems to have pulled off successfully...I'm firing my local designers and will be hiring a crew from India. I’ve heard rumours that they only charge 50 cents an hour. A bargain.
I wasn’t going to review the Labour Party signs that are glowing all throbbingly red around town like some sort of rash...or the pox. I figured they didn’t need reviewing because they were just so boringly good.
They did everything a political sign should do and they did it in red. These signs were the dogs nuts of Palmerston North’s 2016 election campaign.
But then Grant Smith issued his warning in the local paper. He reckons Palmerston North is being invaded by hordes of Wellington-controlled socialist zombies. He’s worried that the Labour Party are going to drive a political wedge right through the heart of Palmy’s politics. He’s worried that the effective council he nurtured after Jono Naylor fled to Wellington to become a National Party-controlled zombie was at threat.
So I wondered if we could find any proof of this in the underlying design of the Gang of Fours’ signs.
Gary of Gary’s Groovy Graphics was the only one of my reviewers available at such short notice and he agreed to teleconference in his wise opinions from his Gonville studio.
I thought red was a great colour because it stands out, but Gary opened my eyes to the threat that lay underneath.
Gary saw the red for what it is - a symbol of Communism.
“How can the citizens of Palmerston North NOT recognise this for what it really is. The Chinese - the only Commies left in the world - are bankrolling a campaign to take over Palmerston North.”
“And look at the candidates names! Zulliqar! Foreigner! Hoera! Foreigner! The other two may sound kiwi...but they don’t look like it. Chisholm looks bloody shady. As for Johnson...what’s she hiding behind those glasses. Wellington is the least of Smith’s worries. These guys are the beginning of an Asian Invasion.”
That’s when Gary suggested we employ some clever forensics. Being a fan of CSI, I was happy to go down to cash converters and buy an X-ray Spectrometer. They are used in art galleries around the world to find out what lies underneath the surface of paintings, so we wondered if we might find some subliminal message beneath the ink of the Gang of Four’s propaganda.
What we found shocked us to the core.
As I developed the X-Ray film in my shed, I looked down into the developing tank and a spectre looked back at me. Shivers went down my spine as the familiar face emerged smirking from the chemical bath. It took a while to put a name to the face, but when I did, the fiendish conspiracy became clear. I hadn’t found a communist plot...I’d found a Team God plot!
That’s right, Ross Barber, Team Smith’s arch rival in the Mayoral Race seems to be the secret genius bankrolling the scarlet hordes. A vote for Labour is a vote for Team God!
Smith was right to be suspicious of Team Red...but he didn’t look deep enough. It’s not Wellington that’s trying to control Palmerston North.
Me and Gary gave Team God’s Labour signs 100 stars in an attempt to get in the good books of the next mayor.
Postscript: Rachel Bowen’s sign trailer has gone missing. I’m not one to point fingers...but some of those Labour guys have very close-set eyes.
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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