Commercial Underground

Now that I no longer have a television, my main link to the world of advertising is the metro. I think this has heightened my awareness of just how awful it can be, even though I can barely understand a word.

Bleary-eyed, I wait on the platform having just missed my train but I do at least have the comfort of a beaming five year-old, holding up a 10,000 Forint note like the Holy Grail. Magyar Nemzeti Bank, it seems, are rather keen to turn your kids into raving capitalists. But he doesn't know what money is! He's five! He probably thinks that's enough money to buy a spaceship! On the other hand, he looks rather at home standing in front of that safe; I wonder if he lives there, raised by Forints.

Perhaps the greatest recent advert offender is Pannon, who seem to have overlooked the potential of the slogan "If anyone pan, Pannon pan" or, indeed, "Hmmmm... Pannon". Instead, they've commissioned the wettest guy in history since man's ancestors crawled out of the sea, to grin along with his wife and the child he's unlikely to have fathered, at the bliss that a Pannon internet connection brings. Still, better that than the previous campaign, as he burst out of a molehill with a dirty telephone, grinning his obligatory grin at the improbable fortune that he'd completed his task without getting a single spot of mud on his shirt.

Family advertising seems to be the trend and pharmaceutical company, Ratiopharm, piles mother, father, son, daughter and grandparents onto one sofa and astonishes them with something out of view. Now, I've examined the looks on their faces and carried out a statistical analysis of their respective emotions, concluding that there's only one thing that they could possibly be staring at.

The BKV itself is trying to develop a more personal image too. They've come up with a lovely poster, just in time for Valentine's day: two ticket validating machines - the ones that never work, even if you've figured out that they're not electronic - are arranged to form a heart, and hence the statement "I heart BKV". To me this seems a little unrealistic. The addition of graffiti improved it a little: "I fuck BKV", which is true, if you're a habitual fare-dodger. But really it should have read, and you'll know this if you've splashed out on a monthly pass recently, "BKV fucks you!"

Andy Sz.



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