Daily Telegraph

May 30, 2011

Battering away

In addition to the Daily Telegraph's nasty hatchet job on Cate Blanchett, they've also decided to ignore the

In addition to the Daily Telegraph’s nasty hatchet job on Cate Blanchett, they’ve also decided to ignore the message in the pro carbon tax ads and spend their time attacking the delivery. Nothing better demonstrates the paucity of quality analysis on this subject than complaints about the imagery used behind Michael Caton during his part of the ad.

THE coal-fired power station shown in the new national carbon tax advertising campaign isn’t in Australia – it’s in South London and was closed in 1983.

Now, I’m no designer, or advertising guru, but I’m pretty sure that the point of the ad wasn’t to say that this particular stylised image of a power plant will be shut down. That said, if the Tele does want to see a power plant that will be affected by a carbon tax, how about we pop Hazelwood into the picture? Carbon ad hazelwood

Is that better? Is the Tele all for the campaign now? I suspect not. The argument about the iconography in the ad is just a pointless diversion.

So why would the ad’s creators have used a stock photo of Battersea power station? Do you think it was:

“[designed to] make Australians think [the carbon tax] will be painless.

As suggested by Australian Coal Associatiton executive director Ralph Hillman? Or do you think it’s more likely that it was used because it’s a good shape and looked good on screen? I’d happily wager it was the latter.

If you take the Tele’s argument seriously does that mean that you distrust roadsigns if the curve on the sign doesn’t perfectly match the corner you’re about to take? Do you not bother to look out for wildlife because you’re not sure that the silhouette on the sign is a real kangaroo? Are you unable to use public toilets because you’re body shape isn’t represented anywhere?

The use of iconography to deliver a visual message isn’t new, and it’s not some kind of deceitful trick. For the Daily Telegraph to pretend otherwise, and to focus on the delivery rather than the substance of the message in this campaign, shows a bizarre view of the debate.


27 thoughts on “Battering away

  1. confessions

    I actually saw the advert for the first time this morning. I simply cannot believe the hysteria generated over the power station, Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton. Our media has a lot to answer for the ‘quality’ of debate in this country.

  2. Eponymous

    Who posted this? I’ve lost track.

    Interesting that shows only one boiler out of 7 running. 95% capacity factor my arse.

    Two plants I’ve been dealing with recently quote their capacity factor at 57 and 75% for the last twelve months. Their rhettoric about ‘baseload’ is somewhat disengenuous.

    I’ll stop being a powerstation nerd soon.

  3. Eponymous

    Spot on Dan at #1. I’ve visited a few plants now and most of the engineers I’ve worked with wouldn’t pick the silhouette.

    I reckon I could pick Baywater out of a line-up though.

  4. monkeywrench

    [email protected] 23
    I made the prediction some weeks ago that Bolt would probably get the witless little gnome on his obscure, unwatched programme, and lo! it came to pass as I spake in the second week.

  5. confessions

    monkeywrench @ 20:

    Another potential ratings booster for the Bolt Report! He could invite McCrann onto his show, and both of them could be filmed putting plastic bags over their heads in order to prove the “life-enhancing” properties of CO2.

    Someone should put the challenge to him.

  6. quantize

    The question is, is Rupert Murdoch really Mr Burns or not?

    Is he a soulless ghoul, happy to profit from ignorance and fear? – because that’s precisely the way it looks…on one hand his company recognizes the need to reduce their carbon footprint, but he’s happy to sit on his arse profiting from his goon squads spreading of bare faced lies and loathing….turning everything into partisan grist for the mill.

    How rich do you need to be before you decide it’s probably not worth even the vaguest risk of leaving your descendants a crappier world?…even if you’re loaded with cash.

    Is ‘winning’ even on the backs of morons and their cheerleaders really worth that?

  7. PeeBee

    I wish Terry would demonstrate the “life enhancing” effect of CO2, by putting a plastic bag over his head and slowly count to a 1,000.

    Life would definitely be enhanced after that little demonstration.

  8. monkeywrench

    Just to add to the depth of the debate, Terry McCrann once again uses the business pages to lecture us on the role of carbon dioxide in the biosphere:

    “We all know the utterly disgraceful game that you and she and the rest of your colleagues are playing – lying about “carbon pollution,” to create the impression that your climate policy is designed to stop the emission of dirty bits of grit.
    ..And who could possibly be against that? Except that your policy has got nothing to do with bits of grit; it’s all and only about taxing life-enhancing carbon dioxide.
    Yes, the very stuff you sputter out with every one of your lies.
    That a prime minister and a deputy prime minister and indeed every member of cabinet would be so relentlessly dishonest with the country is utterly beyond – very grubby – comparison. It is unbelievable but for the fact it is happening.”

    Apart from his offensive calling of Blanchett and Gillard “liars” over this, there’s the small issue of “life-enhancing” CO2….errm, Terry, you bone-head, I hate to be the one to point it out, but mammals actually excrete the stuff as a by-product of metabolic oxidisation. It’s only plants that utilise is as a creative part of their metabolic process (and then only in very limited amounts: you don’t improve plants by overdosing them on CO2).
    I often wonder why News Ltd. pay this fool. The business community are being ill-served by his tub-thumping, and the idiots who agree with him never read the business pages. No wonder they’re losing money.

  9. Marek Bage

    Hang on a second!
    Isn’t this is the same newspaper (sic) that offered us authentic photos of Pauline Hanson in the nuddy?
    Glad to see they’ve developed a talent for identifying the provenance of images since then.


  10. quantize

    Media Watch is ‘must see’ this week…check it out..

  11. Jeremy Sear

    “Actualy if you look closely you might just notice it isn’t Batersea, it’s Hazelwood which I believe is in Victoria.”

    You’ve been fooled by some amazing Gaukroger Photoshopping…

  12. surlysimon

    Sorry might have gone off half cocked, my bad

    Anyway Given that the image used is one which stands for a powersation for 90% of the population (remember Pink Floyd’s Animals cover?) seems the agency just wanted to show a generic powerstation. In fact one image is clearly based on BAtersea but isn’t exactly batersea. This is such a common practice in advertisng that to critisize it in this case is just petty

  13. surlysimon

    Actualy if you look closely you might just notice it isn’t Batersea, it’s Hazelwood which I believe is in Victoria.
    http://www.antipodean.org/index.php/photos/archives/8/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hazelwood_Power_Station_ESP.jpg
    can you spot the difference?
    took me 30 seconds with google image to prove this, Batersea has four chimneys at the corners of a single building.

    If this is the best News Ltd can come up with……..

  14. Ruprecht

    I used to agree with a carbon price until I saw an ad that had a non-Australian power station in it.

  15. Sammy Jankis

    I can just imagine the reaction of the Forestry industry to future advertisements arguing for conservation:

    “You know the stock photo of that forest in the background? It was logged last year! How deceitful!”

  16. revolutionary

    If this is the new advertising standard then I expect an article tomorrow testing the skills of the ‘spelling bee’ that currently appears on their masthead.

    I thought it was just a drawing to amuzingly play on the words, but obviously not, as all images must be completely accurate at the Tele.

  17. quantize

    “Rupert, we need you back here in Australia,” Mr Smith said.

    “Come back and take the reins, your editors are losing the plot and need to be reminded that you accept we must transform the way we use energy and that we need to act now

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/smiths-plea-to-murdoch-on-climate-change-20110530-1fbpy.html#ixzz1NoWIh6bE

  18. returnedman

    Truly worst of all is that you can’t actually SEE global warming ANYWHERE in the ad.

    That’s because it’s NOT HAPPENING!! Don’t you see, you fools?!?!?!?!?

  19. quantize

    Pretty sure those mountains of coal Caton is standing in are also fake!

    GOTCHA! – global warming DISPROVED!

  20. silkworm

    The real problem with the ad is that it shows windmills and solar-PV panels, but doesn’t show solar thermal storage.

  21. monkeywrench

    Perhaps someone should direct the attention of the press idiots to the polluting history of Battersea Power Station. There’s a lesson for all those arguing for clean-coal technology. The byproducts of gas-washing the BPS emissions ended up in the Thames and killed everything.

  22. confessions

    As I said in the other thread, I expect the ads will be pulled because the sun is not a real sun. It’s terribly misleading. Esp for children watching.

  23. jcrakl

    They also use a $1 coin in the advertisement that is clearly counterfeit (it’s as tall as the woman holding it – what you think no-one would notice!?). I hope that the AFP and Reserve Bank have been notified of this no doubt illegal act.

  24. Liz A

    shark? check. waterski’s and boat? check. Aaaand, off we go!

  25. polyquats

    I suspect is was simply a matter of finding a suitable image that was in the public domain…

  26. thirdborn314

    yeah, and those choo choo trains on the signs at level crossings don’t look anything like the diesel electrics of today – damned sign writers

  27. Dan Cass

    I can’t imagine any Telegraph journalist noticing the image.

    My guess is that a coal engineer nerd noticed the image, told Hillman and he gave it to the Tele as an ‘exclusive’, hence his prominence in the story.

    I’d expect Hillman come come up with something a little more intellectual to argue his case, but then I’m an incurable optimist and almost always wrong when it comes to the dirty coal lobby.

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