Friday, 11 March 2011

Corporate Playground

I have been spending rather a lot of time at airports recently and before I get onto this blog, I feel compelled to say that unlike the lady above, I never travel in a white suit. The probability of turbulence plus coffee has always been a touch too much on the high side for me.

One thing that always strikes me about airports is that they are the one public place where all the corporate ads can come out to play. Images rarely seen outside the Annual Report & Accounts or Trade Journals can present themselves to a captive audience of movers, shakers and decision-makers in all their glory. Unfortunately, they have all had the same idea.

The truth about air travel is still this: no-one in an airport is in a normal frame of mind, with the exception of the people who work there every day - and my guess is that these corporate ads aren't aimed at the girl that hands out see-through plastic bags or the guy that drives elderly passengers around on one of those buggies.

No, everyone is jet-lagged, disorientated, tense about the forthcoming meeting, annoyed that they'll be late home, miffed that they'll miss their connection, nervous about just how good the security controls are, insulted by being manhandled and demands that they remove yet more articles of clothing...and the sum total is that, however big a mover, however huge a shaker, however ginormous a decision-maker, nobody is in control.

And so, the gallery of corporate visual delights of a parallel world - of calm seas, endless skies, reflections of nature's glory, vast expanses of green, hopeful sunrises, satisfying sunsets, rowing teams pulling together in perfect harmony and the intricacies of a humming bird's wings seem to mock rather than inspire. They feel like the visual equivalent of the calming music played to cattle before the slaughter.

In combination with the contrived names that many of these companies sport - which give no clue as to whether they are in pharmaceuticals or insurance, engineering or financial consultancy - the net result is that they bypass the busy executive and float, unattended to, like the aluminum intricacies of the airport's roof structure.

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