Friday, January 18, 2008

Making A Change. Or Ads That Work

For the Last 3 months I have made the move from car dependent to car-lite and would love see Jacksonville become a city where living car-free is not a laughable joke.

I have gone from filling my gas tank once a week to once a month by simply riding my bike for all things personal. And if I didn't have to have a car to perform my job I would be totally car free.

Lately I have been attending meetings. Meeting on environment. Meetings on transportation. Meeting about planning meetings. I am sick to death of meetings. 

Most of these meeting are about one thing. Educating the masses as to why they should change their lifestyle. Here's the rub. The masses don't want to be educated. How many of you enjoy being lectured as to how you should live your life?

If the general public don't want to be educated or lectured. What do they want? How does any one person or group cause wide spread lifestyle changes in the masses. The answer is simple. They want to be sold. Yes, advertising. Slick glossy ads produced by suits with slick glossy hair in slick and glossy buildings in New York City. If you want want people to get out their cars and start using bicycles and mass transit you need to sell them on it. You have to make them want it. You have to convince them that making the change will lead to better skin, bigger dicks and getting laid more often. Ads that pull at their heart strings and cause even the toughest mullet wearing yahoo to openly weep.

Need proof? Back in the 70's this country was a shit pile of trash along the roadways and in public spaces, along with massive industrial pollution. Then overnight one ad changed it all.
This ad was so powerful that the masses started clamoring for change so loud that elected officials were forced to take action. The US enjoyed it's first real enviromental movement.

The other day I attended a meeting of BPAC (Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee).
I was rather shocked to learn that only one local bike shop owner was on the board or active within the group. And he didn't even bother to show up. Now you can bet your last dollar if my business was to sell bikes. I would be taking an active part in communicating with all the other bike shops to pool our resources to make my city as bike friendly as possible. Which of course would lead to more sales and money in my pocket.

Here is an example of the type of ad that will get peoples attention. From the great folks at WWF-Canada:

Isn't it time for bike manufactures to come together nation wide and affect change? For their own benefit and ours.


Wordnerdy said...

I vaguely remember that ad. But do you really think it made the difference, it was the one thing? What about Earth Day?

Oh, you're right, sage old one. You were there. I cannot argue with the great blaspheme. :)

Jennifer McCharen said...

Tell me more about BPAC. I've been at most of these meetings (plus others, strictly related to climate change), and I share your frustration. At least amongst many people my own age, I do see a growing awareness of living the good life (as the Nearings would say). This could be a self-selecting error, but I think awareness is growing.

Blasphemer said...

jennifer mccharen said...
"Tell me more about BPAC"

Jennifer, I'm still trying to figure what BPAC is myself. They have been around for years and are currently part of Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

If you do a google search on BPAC you won't find much if anything at all. BPAC's current chairman is working to solve this and to raise community awareness of BPAC's mission.

Sorry, I don't have more information.

I am thinking of different ways to set up a local community bike coalition.

Jennifer McCharen said...

MPO sounds like such a cool organization, but my impression is that they're not so effective.

You know Josh Jubinsky, right? And Joe Gaskins? One or both of them are setting up a bike co-op. Not sure about the details. Come out to the Tangerine Festival this Saturday in Memorial Park and talk to them. There's an active bike community...I'm sure you already know them, but if not they'll definitely be at the park Saturday.

Blasphemer said...

wordnerdy said...
"But do you really think it made the difference"

Yes. There were lots people nation wide doing local things to help educate and get people involved in environmental issues.

But that commercial caused mainstream america to ask what they could do. Prior to that ad, the mainstream would just shake their heads and mutter things like, "damn hippies". Post ad environmental causes became the new cool trendy thing to be part of.

Blasphemer said...

jennifer mccharen said...

"You know Josh Jubinsky, right? And Joe Gaskins?"

Yes, I have met them on a couple occasions.

" Come out to the Tangerine Festival this Saturday in Memorial Park and talk to them."

I will be there as part JaxCAL. See you then.