Today, those of us on the anti-‘Wellywood’ sign page got some welcome news: that Wellington Airport would reconsider.
But, I had to point out, this is again déjà vu. Last time, the Airport ﬂip-ﬂopped as well, and said it would consult the public.
Given that the resource consent for ‘Wellywood’ was for nine smaller signs, any alternative proposed by the public that didn’t ﬁt the speciﬁcation would have needed a new consent. In the latest round of interviews, I called the process a sham.
We’ve had so many mixed messages from Steve Fitzgerald of Wellington Airport and his colleagues that it’s hard to take anything seriously.
March 10, 2010: we will do the sign. A few weeks later: we won’t do the sign and we’ll consult. By September: we will still do the sign. May 21, 2011: we will do the sign. May 24, 2011: this is part of branding Wellington. May 25: it’s just some airport land—it’s not as if we’re branding Wellington. June 1: we won’t do the sign and we’ll consult. And round we go again.
Those opposing the sign were dubbed ‘small’ and an ‘element’, but now we’re the ‘community’. Sure beats being called ‘whingers’, which we were labelled last year.
This is the sort of unimaginative management that is driving this country into the water.
The public is against the sign. The ﬁlm industry, from representatives I have heard from, is against the sign. The Mayor and the majority of the council are against the sign. Hollywood, as the trade mark and copyright owner of the original, is against the sign. The Prime Minister indicated he disliked the sign. The law is against the sign.
You’d think that with such overwhelming evidence, Wellington Airport would have seen the light a long, long time ago, especially, as I said on Back Benches last week, yet another party owns the ‘Wellywood’ trade mark.
Ignoring the lot suggests that Wellington Airport believes it is above the law. And that the councillors who elected to support the Airport’s position do not believe in upholding the laws of New Zealand.
If you begin counting from March 10, 2010 to June 1, 2011, then the Airport has taken 448 days (and 26,000 Facebook users) for the penny to drop. If you look at the period between May 21 to June 1, then that’s still a shameful 11 days.
Contrast this to another Facebook movement that happened in Australia today: the protest against posters for a safe-sex campaign being removed because of a few dozen complaints from a so-called Christian group, ACL.
APN’s Adshel unit chose to remove the posters but, by 4 p.m. AEST, Adshel’s Australian CEO made a statement to say they would be reinstated.
It’s a shame to note that Adshel would cave in to very similarly worded, homophobic complaints, while its rival, Goa, honoured its contract with its client, the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities, a non-proﬁt organization.
The irony is that ACL has brought the campaign, which features a real-life couple, far greater prominence than it otherwise would have had.
While Adshel didn’t apologize, merely saying it had been duped, it’s still a credit to Adshel CEO Steve McCarthy that the right course of action was taken given a 30,000-plus-strong movement at the time of his announcement. It wasn’t the perfect PR statement, but at least it didn’t attack campaigners and the Australian public—not to mention a few of us from overseas—as a small element or a minority.
Does this other Aussie Steve have egg on his face? Of course he does. But he made the right call and he can, at least, move forward and not become Queensland’s most hated man. (Reading the comments, a Kiwi-born premier still holds that distinction.)
One day for the penny to drop, versus 11. And a good deal of that 11 was spent alienating the people of Wellington. Not exactly paving the way for a great consultative process.
Above is the Australian ad. Complaints included that it looked like ‘foreplay’. My, my, it shows what is on the minds of certain people.
If advertising featuring a couple might “turn people gay”, then, with all the “straight propaganda” out there, there wouldn’t be any gay people in the world.
If we’re actually concerned about sexualized images out there, as the ACL claims, there is far more nudity in “straight advertising” to worry folk.
If an eight-year-old who sees this ad understands sexuality, then that’s a bloody dirty eight-year-old. When I was eight, not only did I not know what sex was, but all I would have seen in this ad are two blokes. Now move on and let me play with my Matchbox cars.
2 thoughts on “Wellington Airport ﬂip-ﬂops again, but pennies drop more quickly in Queensland”
Fitzgerald’s position as CEO is completely untenable at this point IMO. I can’t think of a more poorly managed corporate “public relations” campaign in recent times.
Wellington’s digerati don’t take too kindly to being shat on by a sneering Aussie yob too dense to see the writing on the wall the first time around.
The airport makes a large economic contribution, but it also exists through the tolerance of the city and its ratepayers. Fitzgerald seems to have forgotten this wider issue.
I fully agree, Paul. His sending out a press release and talking about ‘community’ was the biggest joke ever, after he realized (for the second time) the battle had been lost. Does anyone still take him seriously?
It seems remarkably easy to be an Infratil CEO. If I were a shareholder there, I would be dreadfully worried about what it calls leadership.