The world is full of idiots, and someone needs to point it out to them or they will never know.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kyle Sandilands Needs to Go

Dear reader, it was a little over two years ago when I first ranted about Kyle Sandilands on my old blog. Then, it was because Sandilands had insensitively interviewed a rape victim, but now, it's because he has criticised a female journalist's appearance because she criticised one of his crappy TV shows. Just like last time, Kyle is losing sponsors and network deals, and just like last time, Jackie O is defending him, because she must be one of those women who likes men who have the intelligence of your average chimpanzee.

(On the off chance someone is sitting there thinking Kyle is just a normal Aussie bloke "having a laugh", I invite you to have a look at just one of many distasteful incidents on the Kyle and Jackie-O show, courtesy of The Dark Side of the Blog's old friend Media Watch.)

Now, what offends me most about Kyle (and Jackie-O, to a lesser extent) is not so much what he said in the first place, but his justification for saying it. Behold, Kyle's air-tight defence:

"We live in a country of free speech. You're allowed to say what you want and so am I."

Or alternatively...

This is a mindset journalists in Australia, and the world even, need to get themselves out of. I've previously discussed the irresponsible conduct of talk-back hosts in relation to climate change, but these men probably justified what they were doing because we live in a free country, and they have a right to say what they want.

Well, I'm afraid it's not that simple. Nowhere near that simple. Kyle defends himself by saying that because we (the public) can say what we want, so can he, but there are friggin' limits. Just because you can say something doesn't mean you should. The woman who criticised Kyle had some valid points, namely that Kyle's show (A Night With The Stars) was not performing in the ratings and that it was not entertaining. And how does Kyle respond? By criticising this woman's appearance ("a fat bitter thing", a "fat slag", "90s hair", etc.). Not only is this sexist, but it's extremely immature and lazy of him. Not once, in my entire gargantuan rant against Family Guy did I personally attack Seth Macfarlane or his team of writers. Personal attacks add nothing to an argument, and are often the product of a straw man, desperate to win the argument. For example:

PERSON 1: Climate change doesn't exist.
PERSON 2: Actually, the majority of the world's scientists say it does.
PERSON 1: But I've heard of a book by some professor who says we shouldn't be worried!
PERSON 2: That professor works for an oil company, of course he's going to say that. Besides, 97 out of 100 active researchers in the field agree that the climate is changing and that we are causing it. (source, in case you're interested).
PERSON 1: Whatever. What kind of person knows this much about climate change, anyway? Only losers who still live with their parents and spend their time playing World of Warcraft.

The idea here is that if Person 1 can make Person 2 look bad, Person 2's logic must be equally as bad, and therefore Person 1 is right. It's immature, lazy and unprofessional, especially for a man who has such an influence of people's opinions (sad, yes, but true considering his job).

The problem is that if anyone criticises radio hosts or journalists for saying something unethical, they can sit smugly behind the defence of "free speech". Free speech is all well and good, but if you going to attack someone or something, you need to back up your points with actual arguments, not just cheap shots at their appearance. Living in a country with free speech does not give you permission to be immature or rude. As depressing as it is to say this, Kyle Sandilands holds a significant sway over the opinions of many people, and he has a responsibility to behave appropriately and act with maturity, not just say whatever he feels like and pretend he's a champion for free speech.

Ultimately, Kyle Sandilands needs to be held accountable for his actions. 2Day FM has a responsibility to do what is right, not what is easy. Successful long-term businesses build relationships with consumers, and you're never going to acheive this by having your flagship presenter be a man who's hated by thousands of people. Kyle may give 2Day FM ratings in the short term, but in the long term, he's going to do nothing but damage the brand of what is supposed to be a family-friendly radio station. Kyle Sandilands is yet another example of someone who uses their position in the media purely to push their own views on the public.

That, and he looks funny.

© 2011 by The Free Man

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stop Doing Coke's Advertising for Them

I love Coke. Not just for the taste of the product, but for the fact that it is one of the strongest, most powerful brands in the world. I also admire Coke's brilliant marketing campaigns - often, they're some of the best in the industry.

This year, though... I find Coke's advertising campaign obnoxious. You know the one I'm talking about:

Isn't it unhygenic to share drinks anyway?

"Share a Coke with..." has been an immensely successful campaign for Coke. Everywhere you look, people are seeking out cans and bottles of Coke with their name on it. In fact, I'd wager at least one of your friends has uploaded a photo of a bottle of Coke with their name on it to Facebook or another social networking website (because, you know, there are so many alternatives to Facebook). At first I assumed I just needed to get better friends, but today I saw people queuing up at my shopping centre just to get a bottle of Coke with their name on it. Queuing!

You realise, don't you, that when you upload a photo of a bottle of Coke with your name on it you're doing exactly what Coke wants you to do? You are, basically, giving Coke free advertising? In fact, you're giving Coke something more powerful than a free advertisement; you're giving the brand an endorsement.

Alright, now excuse the marketing lesson here, but in the modern world tradition methods of advertising (TV, radio, billboard, newspaper, etc.) are becoming less and less effective at reaching consumers. Part of that is that there is a lot of new media competing for our attention (the internet, video games, tablet computers), but it's also because we're a lot more media-saavy these days. We won't become loyal to a brand just because they had some cool ads on TV, quite often we need some kind of endorsement from a friend before we place our trust in a brand.

Yeah, I know this sounds like a bit of a wank. You're probably sitting there thinking, "I buy what I want, I'm not affected by what other people say!" Well, you are - everyone is, whether they realise it or not. It's human nature to seek aproval for what we do in our lives - our jobs, our hobbies, even what drinks we buy. An endorsement from a friend is exactly what Coke is aiming for in this campaign - and they're getting it whenever you post those photos on Facebook, whether you intend to or not. They want you to do their work for them.

And you're doing it! Can someone please explain to me, what is so thrilling about seeing your name in print? Look, I'll let you in on a secret, if you buy a program called "Microsoft Word" (you may not have heard of it) and you press the buttons on your keyboard in the right order, your name can appear in print, just like that!


All sarcasm aside, you really need to stop doing Coke's job for them. Especially since the campaign itself is so safe, so predictable. All the names on Coke cans are nice, white, Anglo-Saxan names. Where's the can that says Share a Coke with Mohammad? It is, after all, the most popular name in the world at the time of writing.

But you know what the ultimate irony is? I started this rant against Coke with the words, "I love Coke." I've just spent a couple of hundred words discussing Coke's advertising campaign. I've given them an endorsement, of sorts.


© 2011 by The Free Man