Joe Hendren

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Corporates should stop defaming cute fluffy animals

Watching Contact's latest television advertising campaign the other day, I realised that Telecom and Contact Energy are two peas in a pod. Both are former publicly owned assets which were privatised with disastrous results. Both make huge profits from New Zealand consumers, as a large portion of which is exported into the pockets of overseas investors.

But Mother Earth is pissed at Telecom and Contact for another heinous crime - the exploitation of cute fluffy animals. Back in the 1990s Telecom asked an advertising agency to come up with a campaign to improve its public image, an image damaged by abuse of its monopolistic market position and sending thousands of its workers onto the dole queue. Not that Telecom had any intention of changing their spots and improving their corporate behavior. Instead, they introduced a sideshow, SPOT the dog.

Following negative publicity about power blackouts and price rises, Contact have adopted a similar approach with their 'birds' campaign. The use of birds also has an implied environmental message, despite the fact Contact is using power consumers money to run a propaganda campaign in favour of coal power, which may be the most profit friendly form of energy for Contact, but it certainly is not the most environmentally friendly option for New Zealand. Instead of improving their behavior and becoming socially responsible corporate citizens, Telecom and Contact opt for emotional manipulation of the populace.

It is a shame irresponsible corporates can use the good name of cute fluffy animals with no repercussions. Often the poor animals will work for no more than a bone. I am sure SPOT's brothers and sisters, as well as their human companions, had to face taunts of 'telecom dog' and an unwelcome association with New Zealand's most unloved multinational corporate. Now thanks to Contact, cartoon birds are going to be tarred forever.

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At 11:24 PM, Blogger Kakariki said...

I understand from friends in 'the industry' that we are about to be bombarded with more Telecom cute fluffy animals too...


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