I hate advertising… (FRANK AND GORDON MUST DIE!)

19 03 2008

One of the few things that really irks me is that you cannot get away from is advertising.  It’s everywhere… you see it on everything: buildings, vehicles, road signs, television, radio ads, virtually any print material, riding the bus, train, taxi, you name it!

I don’t think it really struck me as to how ugly it can be until I moved back to Canada from the UK.  Not that the UK does not have advertising but I don’t think they have quite taken it to the extent which North America has embraced it.  Our good neighbours to the south even take it one step further; my first steps off the plane in Vegas had a billboard in my face showing where I could go to shoot guns.  Less than 24 hours later I saw a roadside billboard advertising a legal firm that specialized in suing lawyers (next logical step I suppose). 

Some ads grate on your nerves more than other.  I don’t think there has been an ad campaign that has driven me nuts more than the Bell Mobility Frank & Gordon ads.  God knows why.  The voices in my head tell me that FRANK AND GORDON MUST DIE!  They are so irritating.  If you took any notice of them at all you would have a new mobile phone each week and you would also be stupid enough to watch feature length films on a phone screen (this has to be the dumbest thing I’ve seen in a LONG time).  They are EVERYWHERE.  I don’t watch television and I still can’t avoid them.  I turn on the radio and I hear their whiny little voices telling me how great Bell phones are an I must have this completely useless feature they are bleating on about.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!  I can’t take it anymore MAKE THEM STOP!  Oddly enough these animated characters are apparantly really popular and people love them… I can’t work that one out.  Maybe this explains why Alberta voted conservative again….

I don’t know if other people conscious or unconsciously make a decision like intentionally making a point of not shopping at a place that has adverts that annoy you.  I will certainly never consider a Bell phone because I hate the Frank/Gordon ads so much.  I don’t go to Tony Romas for a meal because I can’t stand the radio sports guy Bryan Hall (who is *WELL* past his sell by date).  I used to try and listen to the sports show he did but it was just too damn irritating and it might as well have been called the Tony Romas show because that’s all he seemed to bang on about.

Advertising is a necessarily evil, I appreciate and acknowledge that.  If you have a product or service you need to tell people about it in order to make sales of it.  That’s fine… but please Bell (and others I’m sure)… enough is enough.

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Provincial Elections & Stuff…

4 03 2008

Well I did my civic duty and voted yesterday in the Alberta provincial elections.  The candidate I voted for did not win (yet ANOTHER Conservative majority in Alberta… do people ever learn.. but I digress).

The turnout was absolutely shambolic.  I read today the turnout rate was about 41% of eligible voters in the province, down from the poor 44% of the previous elections.  I left work about 20 minutes early to get there that much earlier and, hopefully, avoid the queues.  When I got to my polling station I was the *ONLY* one in it (bar voting officers).  I’ve never seen that before in any election I’ve voted in.  I guess the virtually empty car park should have tipped me off (here was my worried about having to park on the street somewhere).  A bit worrying… I dont particularly like our current provincial government so I tried to do something about it (and if I did like the government I’d turn up anyway to support them).

Makes you wonder what the reasons for the low turnout is?  Disenfranchised with the system?  Don’t care?  Satisfied with status-quo?  Why?

Very disappointing regardless of the outcome.  You may not like the outcome but at least participate and make your voice heard.

On the plus side I played soccer on Sunday and I had my first clean sheet in I don’t know how long!  Yay!





Mobile Phone Companies…

2 03 2008

What is it about mobile phone service providers that they seem to shine with incompetence.  I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with two such companies.  When I lived in the UK I was a subscriber to Vodafone.  Here in Canada I signed up with Rogers Wireless.

Now I had my issues with Vodafone during my time overseas.  I initially signed up for a 1 year contract and renewed it each year for continued service.  Interestingly the rates generally went down as did my per/minute airtime.  The issue I had was every year I would phone them to renew my contract, select my options and every year (without fail, this is 4 or 5 years in a row) they managed to screw it up and get it wrong.  Every time.  Without exception.  This was always resolved with a few phone-calls and a slightly better deal than before but I was always amazed at how something so simple could be screwed up every time.

Now Rogers is an even more special case.  It’s to do with paying my bill.  You would think that a company that does a service for you and then sends you a bill would make it easy for you to pay it.  It would certainly be in their best interest (one would think). 

I like to pay my bill on their website with a credit card because then

  1. I get my Air Miles
  2. I control when I pay it rather than giving them the keys to my account to withdraw when they want (look at the small print for letting companies help themselves to payments; to cancel such a deal you need THEIR PERMISSION… hello it’s my bank account, I would like to think I’d have the final call on that, but I digress).

Now over the last 12 months or so I seem to have an issue regularly with paying my bill online.  The problems have included:

  1. Log-in doesn’t work
  2. Log-in works but my session is timed out after 10 seconds for no apparent reason (yes, I flushed my cache, temp Internet files, etc).
  3. Log-in works but systems are down for maintenance.
  4. Web site is so incredibly slow it is impossible to get anything done.
  5. Some other part of their on-line “services” is non-functioning for no apparent reason.

Combinations of the above seem to be what I encounter regularly.  Trying to pay my bill last night was especially annoying.  I was able to log in but as soon as I tried to get to the billing section my “session” was timed out and I was no longer logged in.  I went to the feedback session and filled out my usual note to them asking them why they continue to thwart my attempts to send them Canadian currency and await their response.  I just want to pay my bill!  Geez, you’d think I was asking for allot.  ROGERS I AM TRYING TO PAY MY BILL, WHY IS IT SO GO**AMN DIFFICULT!?!?

Another observation about the UK/Canada with respect to the mobile phone industry is how much more of a ripoff it is over here compared to Europe (bear in mind its’ been a few  years so perhaps this has changed).  For some reason in North America with our mobile phone conversations we get billed per minute.  It may only be a 10 second conversation to say you are on your way but if you are paying 30 cents a minute your on the hook for the whole 30 cents instead of the expected 5.  Over a month of phone calls that adds up to a substantial amount.  In Europe I was billed per second…  If Europe is the big rip off many people make it out to be (and it is in many ways; ‘rip off britain’ was one of the many mantras one hears living there and it has to be said there is some truth in it… check out http://www.rip-off.co.uk/ for one point of view) then why is it with our technology today we can’t have billing per second and you pay for what you actually use rather than the mobile phone companies filling their pockets by charging you for services you aren’t using.  

Is that really fair and OK with you?  To me it’s a bit like going to fill your car before a long trip, only putting in half a tank and being told they only sell full tanks and being charged for a full tank.  Very dodgy dealings there.

Anyway, my 2 cents.