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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Milking time

The Fonterra announcement that it will freeze domestic milk prices for the rest of the year has been greeted with initial praise, but now meets some skepticism. Let me add mine. What they have done is announce they will keep prices at an all-time high. That is what a "freeze" means. It means they will not reduce prices. So, it's actually pretty shitty, but the PR from Fonterra has been lapped up by most of the media, like cats into saucers of NZ's finest. It worked so well for the 'terra monopoly that the supermarket duopoly followed suit... not that that is price fixing. Oh, no that would be illegal: "I don't want to go to jail" said the supermarket frontman on last night's Campbell Live show on TV3; but what else is it if not price fixing? The main supplier says it's x, the two main retailers say it's x, and they all say it within 24 hours of each other - if that's not the fixing of a price then I don't know what is.

As for the assertion by Mr Supermarket Man that all they ever charge is a 10-30% mark-up? That would be standard on most basic items - like bread - I assume, and is more than their tobacco margins definitely and booze, probably. I'm not sure Mr Supermarket Man was lying about it - as everyone suspects - he was just down-playing it. If it is around the 30% mark that is a very healthy margin for a staple necessity and although it may not sound like that much of a gouge it is.

However it is the ads about the various milk types - all Fonterra brands no doubt - that amuse me in all of this public indignation. Not so much that like the Apple and Pear Marketing Board (or whatever it's called these days) they have many different brands (that inside the wrappers are almost identical) so they create the illusion of competition, but that their raw product has become so diluted. The A&PMB's trick was to make everything with an apple base; the 'terra's trick is to take the milk bit of milk out. It might not be watering it down literally with water, but it must be very close to it. Most of the ads on TV and in print are for low fat milk and I can't discern the difference between those awful green and "lite" blue types of watery non-milk type milk and what would happen if I took the once normal silver top type of whole milk and poured half of it out and added water. I don't think there is a difference - the lite types (which constitute most varieties) taste and feel and look watered down... and yet it is the same price as proper milk. Fonterra must quite literally be creaming it.

People are paying full whack for 2 litres of milk-water when they could be buying a 1 litre of proper milk and adding a litre of water to create the same awful, tasteless, bland shit they have been convinced they want - at half the price. That is the power of relentless advertising over the female mind: rows of milk-water. Try finding the proper milk - sometimes, even in a big supermarket, they don't have any at all! Females control the household spend - they buy milk-water. Everyone else is niche and misses out.

The attempts at relentless advertising on the male mind to change positions don't seem so effective (esp. if you look at supermarket shelves) but perhaps that is because often the advertisers just don't get the message right, or understand who they are selling to and who they are. It is bad enough that in the last 5-10 years it has become routine for males to be the subject of the petty ridicule and gross and unflattering characterisations that were common of the portrayal of female roles in ads in the previous century. In many TV ads - especially for the purposes of getting onside with females to sell female products - the moronic, incompetent, selfish, oafish, knuckle-dragging cartoon of a man has become commonplace; but it is particularly tragic when a stereotypical and dumbed-down image of males is used to try to get men themselves onside. Take the latest NZTA "Mantrol" ads as an example.

"Mantrol" is so gay. It is the gayest advertising campaign. Like the opening sequence with the balless douche of a narrator navigating a series of supposedly masculine pursuits, it is gay on so many levels. It is so monumentally homosexual that only a government department could have commissioned it. If this is what the government thinks of men then one is drawn to conclude the government is run by women. It is so patronisingly irksome that it becomes counter-productive: let's do the exact opposite of whatever this balless douche of a nagged, pussy-whipped drip is saying, ie. be a real man, because no man wants to be this man. This man is some half-baked figment of a hobbled female imagination. I can't beleive a man thought this character up. He becomes so pathetic by the end it would be better off at that point (having built up such animosity with the group he was trying to target) if he told men to drive fast and drunk.

Yes, it is that bad:
The thinking must have been if it only saves one ad agency executive's bonus it would have been worth it. So much money down the drain. All the licence increases for what? Another pathetic shitty ad that belittles half the population? Less respect for the Transport minister, Steven Joyce, by the day.

ASB's IVF ads however are possibly, just possibly, even worse. Inconceivably bad.The bank's TV ad designed to lure desperate couples into a spiral of debt so they can have that which nature has denied them is hubris playing on hubris. Yuck, yucky, yuck. So many levels of yuck. Nature, fate, destiny - God - says no, but with the bank's money they can pay for scientists and technicians to do what should not be done. Another personal indulgence of the psycologically maladjusted made possible by the ASB.

The ASB made possible their whopping mortgage on their over-valued suburban shit-box that keeps them on an endless treadmill of work to pay for it. They are up to their necks in debt already and now a child - via the mercenary medical profession - will enter the world with their parents in debt to their eyeballs. "Creating futures" - a future of debt. Born of debt and into debt. As if a lifetime of owing money to an Australian corporation is a normal and successful way of life... Does the bank make them put the child up as security? Is the flesh on the line, Aussie Shylock, or just the soul?


At 22/2/11 5:58 am, Blogger Rangi said...

Post of the century Tim. Oh how generous of Fonterra to let us buy a locally produced (and polluting) product at the "international" price.

The only thing more retarded than the prices they charge is that people are willing to accept them, time to stop drinking the supertrim-aid, Kiwistan!!!

At 22/2/11 8:41 am, Blogger homepaddock said...

Skim milk has the fat removed, it doesn't have any water added.

At 23/2/11 10:17 am, Blogger besideourselves said...

Yes homepaddock...*facepalm*... but we know that milk with the (valuable) solids taken out is water.

It used to be called whey, and it was fed to the pigs as a by-product; now it's a 'value-added product'? Calling skim-ilk "milk" is tantamount to calling offal-and-hide "beef".

As you say you're from a dairy farm, I bet I know which end of the tanker you take your milk from...

Moving on: 'mantrol'? Watching him sliding down that great big slippery pole I wasn't sure whether to guffaw or cringe - what were they thinking?

And excuse me, ASB, if the thought of you "creating the future" doesn't exactly fill me credulous confidence (you parasites).

Thanks for the glimpse of what I've been missing out on in the media.

Great blog.


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