08 June 2009

Visit Auckland and Break the Law

Here's a little tourism advert for Auckland, New Zealand. The BIG little city, apparently. It's a lovely city that I've guested twice.

UPDATE: The video I embedded was suddenly locked and made 'private' after it was posted here. So I've replaced it with another film, this one from a debate programme about the advert. The advert starts at about 20 seconds in, after an intro from the host.

What's funny about this advert is the man on the bicycle. Cycling in New Zealand has suffered under all-ages mandatory helmet laws since 1994, not to mention lack of political will to create safe, separated infrastructure. So this chap is breaking the law by cycling around the city without a magical hat. And even on the sidewalks! Shockhorror.

What's this advert telling us? That it's okay to break the law in Auckland? Hmm. Good to know next time I'm there.

Now the bicycle is hot these days, all over the planet, so merely featuring a bicycle in the advert creates a serene, gentle feel to the city. Put a strange but pleasant old man on the bicycle and that adds to the effect. This is marketing for beginners.

But he's still breaking the law... um... what to do, what to do... put a helmet on him? No, no, no. That's lame. He'd just look stupid wearing one. HEY! let's make him all mystical and magical like. [In NZ the mere sight of a man in regular clothes on a normal bike is probably mystical and magical.] He can turn on lights by riding past them, people look right through him as though he doesn't exist. We'll have him ride up to a mythical, non-existent gate and open the city for business. Yes!

I love the irony of this silly advert.

For more information about New Zealand's failed helmet laws, click on.

For more info about efforts to repeal the failed helmet laws, click here.

In other NZ news, cyclists and pedestrians staged a protest about the lack of pedestrian and bicycle facilities on the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Thanks to Su Yin in NZ for the links.

Amazingly, after word got out about the lack of helmet on the old man, Tourism Auckland reshot it (or added in post-production?) a helmet on the guy.

Comedy knows no limits.