Friday, May 02, 2008

Faceless waffle


I saw a full page ad in The Age this morning.

It was for a company I'd never heard of called Veolia.

Couldn't miss the ad to be honest. Huge picture of a city streetscape, shot from above.

So the ad caught my eye. Job done?

I think not.

On closer inspection I saw that the cars in the picture were driving on the right hand side of the road.

So the photo was obviously not taken in Australia.

Then I spotted the Veolia tagline - Preserving the environment is our universal challenge.

What the!?

So Veolia must be some kind of green company?

Nope.

They're the holding company of Connex who operate the always late and generally overcrowded train network in Melbourne.

So what did Veolia have to say in their full page full colour ad?

At first glance quite a lot. But on closer inspection very little.

Here's a snippet from the copy:

"Veolia Transport, as a world leader, manages almost 2.5 billion journeys a year thereby decreasing traffic congestion and combating climate change."

Honestly, who writes this sort of corporate waffle. And who do they expect to read it?

It costs a lot of money to run a full page full colour ad in The Age.

Why oh why would Veolia not put that money to good use?

Here's an idea:

Rather than running expensive ads, how about ploughing the money into the public transport system instead?

11 Comments:

Blogger Age said...

Great post, Stan. I fucking hate how companies are banging on about "climate change" like this. They should concentrate on their primary purpose of existing first, and INCORPORATE environmentally friendly techniques and technology into that.

Sorry to admit, but for someone in this business I would prefer to understand how these people are benefiting me rather than the environment.

2:47 pm  
Blogger Zac Martin said...

I feel the same way about every campaign Connex runs. From Don't Hold Others Back to Dr Martin Merton to Karma Llama.

Design a decent product; then advertise it.

7:54 pm  
Blogger Geezer said...

Boys, no offence but you are talking without even knowing the business.

Veolia invests millions every year into reasearch and developing new technologies to reduce energy consumption, waste and minimise the impact of operations on the environment.

The energy and building services arm manages and maintains 000's of buildings and public facilities, reducing energy consumption and utilising / generating green energy which in turn reduces the cost of energy to users, public authorities and ultimately the public.

age - If you want to know what Veolia can do for you, the international job opportunities are unsurpassed with operations in over 48 countries. The investment training is fantastic and the company often subsidises study.

Regarding the train operator, bet you can't name one that's any better! I was on a supposed to be on a train from London to Southampton yesterday (1.5 hr journey) that took 2.5 hrs and I was stood up and crammed in like cattle all the way. There are always bad examples to pick on but the positives of Veolia far out way any negative pockets you maay have experienced.

Yes I do work for them and yes I am an advocate but seriously it's an awesome company and great to work for.

9:32 pm  
Blogger lauren said...

geezer, while i'm sure they do invest a shitloads into research and innovation, if an innovation company is doing a good job, they don't need to place a full-page colour ad in a daily broadsheet about how good they are. their system, insight and innovation just work and the people who need to know about it by experience. your average paper-reader doesn't need to know about them. the fact is that now veolia have just obviously lumped themselves in with connex. and the way connex are operating at the moment (sky-high dissatisfaction), it's not such a good move. tainted love.

1:02 am  
Blogger Geezer said...

OK so connex maybe having a rough time in OZ but tell me one company that has not had a bad time at some place, somewhere for a period of time. You can't really slag off Veolia WORLDWIDE just because in 1 tiny bit of it's operation a few people have had a bad experience! Connex is not a new acquisition by the way, Veolia has owned it for years!

1:48 am  
Blogger Dave said...

geezer, what are we supposed to do? not slag off a under performing company that costs us time and money by not provide the service we pre-pay for whilst buying media space that no one gives a hoot about to promote a brand that no-one needs to know about?

8:57 pm  
Blogger Stan Lee said...

Great to see the power of social media in action.

Sorry Geez, but brands are not what they tell us they are. They are what we the consumer say they are.

Regardless of the debate over quality of service, my issue was with the advertising.

Running Euro pictures in Oz ads is not good enough.

Nor was the corporate waffle in the body copy.

A very expensive ad with nothing to say.

11:12 pm  
Blogger Julian Cole said...

The picture annoys the shit out of me, because the green trees have just been cut and pasted over the top of this picture. it doesnt even try to make it look half believable.

Geezer- Kudos to you, for at least trying to help inform us of what they do and disclosing your position.

11:23 pm  
Blogger Geezer said...

Cheers Julian.
I am gonna bang on about this tho coz Veolia is a good company and I can't let it lie (call me jobsworth if you like but.....)
Dave, you can slag off who you like mate in my opinion but I think if you're going to it should be of good foundation. What is Veolia supposed to do? Not advertise? Why don't people need to to know about the business? Is this just about the Connex thing or what?

Lauren, if innovative companies don't need to advertise, why do companies like Dyson, Arjo, Huntleigh Getinge advertise? OK this is business to business but 22% of advetising is actually aimed at business to business these days.

Stan Lee - good argument. Ever heard of banksy the graffiti artist in the UK? http://www.banksy.co.uk/

2:07 am  
Blogger Stan Lee said...

Re: Banksy. I know him well. Not personally, obviously, his work. In fact we both live in Brighton. But in different countries.

There's also a very nice Bansky just around the corner from my office here in Melbourne.

Good on you for engaging in debate. We need more passionate people in the world.

Best...Stan

3:12 pm  
Blogger Stan Lee said...

Oops!
Seems Bansky lives in Bristol not Brighton.
Silly me.

4:13 pm  

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