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January 13, 2003
Some company...

It was a bit like opening a window on a trans atlantic f a few minutes after take off. The pressure difference between the cozy lobby of Worldwide Plaza and the furious outside of 49th street made it almost impossible to open the door at first. And then it just sucked me out into the cold winter night at 3am.
I positioned myself on the corner of 8th Avenue and tried to stop one of the little s on top of the many cabs traveling uptown.
A white Chevrolet pulled up in front of me and a woman in her 20?s rolled down the window. There were two of them sitting in the car and I assumed that they were lost and about to ask me for directions. "Would you like some company tonight"?
I must have looked very surprised, because they smiled in a very non-seductive way just a few seconds later. They really caught me off guard. I did not expect anything like this and not there and not at this time and at all, ever.
A cab stopped for me and the little car sped off towards uptown, the window rolling up as part of the vehicle motion.
I jumped into the back seat of the cab and did not even say the destination. "They just asked me...", the driver did not understand the context, of course, and I was not about to explain. I asked to be brought to Amsterdam and 95th, the easier corner to get to from where we were.
In the middle of the cab divider a 12" LCD lit up with a message informing me that the driver did not know anything about what about to appear on on the screen, so he would not be distracted by the upcoming programming. I felt as if a leftover passenger from a previous ride leaned over to me and assured me that what was about to happen would be a thing completely between the two of us.
The monitor became very bright and began showing me some really cheesy logo animations. These were followed by a bad commercial about FAO Schwarz. "Look Jim, I can use this pen for drawing, but when I blow into it, look what happens." (She blows a heart onto a piece of paper.)
"These are not your average soap bubbles, these are actually stackable!"
Great. I was told that a certain law-firm is ready to help me with all my law-suit needs.
After this, the system told me that it was targeting the young affluent New Yorkers and that I should consider using this most innovative communication channel for advertising. A barely dressed woman pointed to a URL, which made me go to their site this morning. It is i love taxi tv dot com.
I do not think I even like taxi tv. Especially not this late at night. But who knows. Maybe it is a really good idea, just with the right programming. Maybe the two ladies just wanted to drive me around town and show me animated funnies in the back seat of their chevrolet?
Of course not, but I like imagining a pretty harmless world.


It would be lovely woud it not ? were the world really harmless, and loving. Well I guess the world is pretty loving.

Posted by: on January 13, 2003 03:41 PM

That's one of the most striking things about Cuba: no Nextel ads or golden arches or Pepsi logos ... just nothing commercial at all. Most of the bridges on the Cuban highways have freshly painted slogans selling the 40-year-old-revolution, but even this seems more part of the cultural backdrop ... and at least they're all hand-lettered. The ubiquity we're starting to see here of ads (ATM's, taxis, decals on the pavement, etc.) seems to be the second worst aspect. The worst part about most of these ads is the lack of anything approaching good design.

Posted by: rob on January 13, 2003 03:51 PM

would you like some company?

Posted by: on January 14, 2003 09:55 PM

hehe some company... : )

Rob, I remember the great movie you sent me with photographs you took in Cuba. Really excellent work!

I remember Poland being free of commercialism.
Oh well... it is a very different place now.

Posted by: witold on January 14, 2003 11:13 PM
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