Quality condomes

Posted on August 19th, 2010 No comments. The post is really that bad, huh?

With much gracious thanks to new income via new clients (one of whom may be reading this very post – Hi, S!), I’ve once again been able to get into the habit of a leisurely Saturday morning breakfast at the local greasy spoon; sunny, bacon, brown with an orange juice starter. The staff had that shit memorized a year ago, that’s how regular I am. And regular I once again am, the grease sees to that. Yeah, you know what that not-so-subtle word play is getting at.

So I’m terribly pleased to be back to be back to my regular Saturday routine, breakfast, coffee, and extracted sections of the voluminous Saturday Star: the news section, Insight, Weekend Living, and the stalwart comics. If someone were to finally remove the creator of the Family Circus blight, I’d be tempted to call it perfection.

Well, that and a few other unsightly blemishes I’ve noted inside the main news section, namely the condo ads.

Now, to be fair, I’m on record as saying that all the new development around Toronto is a good thing, and I stand by that. Even if some of the architecture is a little uninspired, the corollary benefits are great: lots of competition means lower prices, denser population means less destruction of green space, and being closer to where the action is can effectively remove the need for a car. I gave mine up two years ago and haven’t looked back – surprisingly hard to do without a rear-view mirror.

But the ads for these new condos, they’re just a bit on the weak side. Maybe it’s because I’m such an instantly critical jerkhole, but I immediately read between the lines, often without reading the lines themselves.

Take this ad for FIVE Condos, located at 5 Saint Joseph Street, not terribly far from my own groovy pad:

five condominums, newspaper advertisement, toronto star, toronto, city, life

Aside from a hackneyed Flash website with a poorly designed menu (one of the few things I’m actually qualified to talk about), the print ad has a lot of information lurking just beneath the surface. Here’s what I read:

five condominiums, altered advertisement, toronto star, toronto, city, llife

At least Bisha near the CBC building has some slickly done videos with some cool aerial shots of T-Dot, even though they remind me of the “improved” Mr. Plow commercial. The site also has hideous typography (check out the “Bisha is…” link — and try not to vomit), and a serious Flash programming error that causes my browser to crash:

TypeError: Error #1009: Cannot access a property or method of a null object reference.

at page2_fla::scrollbox_1/frame1()

Whoever wrote that sloppy code should be spanked mercilessly and without mirth.

The print ad ain’t a whole heck of a lot better:

bisha condominiums, blue jays way, newspaper advertisement, the star, toronto, city, life

In other words:

bisha condominiums, blue jays way, newspaper advertisement, the star, toronto, city, life

Mild edginess can turn into hardcore porn so fast.

And then there’s Chaz – nestled in between developments somewhere on Charles Street (the frickin’ website doesn’t even have a “music off” button let alone any actual information!)

Granted, whoever put the campaign together probably didn’t choose the name or the building design, but for me it has some immediate connotations.

Here’s how it’s pitched in print:

chaz condominiums, charles street, newspaper advertisement, the star, toronto, city, life

And here’s what jumps to mind:

chaz condominiums, charles street, newspaper advertisement, the star, toronto, city, life

Print isn’t really my thing so the gory details would be better left to professional designers, but had these companies had the good sense to work with someone like me (as do my current and most wise clients), simple turn-offs like cryptic Flash programming errors, contentless pages, or barfy text would’ve been avoided.

I mean, how much does a condo building go for these days … a few hundred mill.? A couple of grand thrown precipitously in my general direction would’ve produced a digital something that would make the investment seem a little less amateur-hour.

Plus, they’d get my twisted take on all the stuff they’d want to toss onto a printed page and so perhaps make some revisions.

Pretentious all-caps text on repeating, Macintosh-inspired pattern bars? That was so, like, ten years ago, and chicks with closed eyes and dishevelled hair were out of style a decade earlier. Also, please note – curate (v.): To mount, label, store, and protect museum specimens.

Blindfolded women certainly can be attention-grabbing, especially on posters wrapped around poles advertising gay nightclubs – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Unless you’re advertising a building. Ready? Or not.

And seriously … Chaz? That just sounds dirty. As in, “I totally chazzed all over that girl’s tits”. But if the name is sticking then at least the onus is on the campaign manager to try to class it up a bit, not present it as a boozer in the sky. And perhaps even pretend like temporal words have meaning: Chaz is happening! Now! Soon. Why not just say: Chaz happened tomorrow and will do yesterday as of next week in a fortnight. Duuuude.

Well, it’s almost the weekend again and I suspect more treasure will spill forth over my bacon and eggs. If they simply replaced filth like Family Circus or Cathy with this, I might cast a less critical gaze toward the rest of the paper and appreciate real humour where it belongs. At least Marmaduke is gone. At least that.

What's on your mind?