Spotted another couple of wonders in Brighton today — apologies for how bad the camera on my phone is…
Here we have Noddy — who has, presumably, become copyright free — on the side of an advertising van, parked in the city centre. Noddy is helping promote the van, which in turn helps to promote its third-party sponsors, of which it has none. The van works well; this cannot be untrue, for if you have looked upon the van, it has worked.
The logic behind this argument is one part Medusa, one part Borges, and one part quantum physics. And yet, once observed, the van still manages to be simultaneously insidious and tragic.
The ad makes the ubiquitous mistake of replacing visibility with [evidence of] success, as if money fires out of people’s eyes at whatever they’re facing. My problem with this kind of thinking is my problem with so much bad advertising and design — self-congratulating, self-perpetuating demarcated space that misinterprets simply existing with a kind of Don Draper ingenuity. It’s the same nagging concern I get when data collection becomes the end-in-itself; the original return — be it increased or acculturated custom, more money, knowledge, involvement, entertainment — is co-opted by a kind of trading of potential, until we have a soulless, featureless corporate cold war raging entirely separate from the populace.
Oh wait — wait, wait — wait —
And no idea how Noddy helps.
* * *
Now that’s over, let’s have a look at what I saw later in a cafe toilet:
It’s the e-Changer.
Fixed above the cistern is this fold-out baby changing table. Not inherently funny; actually kind of gross and useful. But the name of the thing implies some kind of electronic, networked innovation, not a big-ass plastic desk that comes down like a patio furniture drawbridge.
I imagine the worthy e-Changer to be a kind of voice-interface matron-gadget that projects itself into the room before proceeding to automatically change the idea of your baby while you tweet about your boss.
I also feel like maybe Noddy could have worked better on this one.
I had a look for a better picture, but got distracted by the equally (or maybe I can get away with e-qually) misleading e-bin…
I know what you’re thinking — that’s a normal, analogue bin.
Want to know what I’m thinking?