The latest in the blame Quentin although this time it’s erm… pay homage to!..
Gangster-inspired bus campaigners make motorists an offer they can’t refuse
City borrows from Reservoir Dogs to promote park-and-ride service but posters are condemned as ‘staggering and inappropriate’. David Sapsted reports One is a blood-drenched movie set in the mean streets of Los Angeles; the other a local authority initiative to encourage drivers out of their cars and on to buses. So far, so different until, that is, the brains behind Norwich’s park-and-ride scheme saw a connection between their efforts and Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed gangster film. The result has been a poster of six bus drivers walking along in dark suits, white shirts, ties and sunglasses - very much as Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi et al lined up in the film posters. Let’s Go To Work is the slogan of both the film and the bus campaign, which is aimed at getting business people and shoppers to use a service that is coded according to the colour allotted to the six park-and-ride sites around the city. In the movie the six gangsters are given names of Mr White, Mr Orange, Mr Blonde, Mr Pink, Mr Brown and Mr Blue. The parking sites are coded pink, blue, purple, green, yellow and red. Tim East, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for transport on Tory-run Norwich council, lambasted the campaign yesterday as “staggering and wholly inappropriate” and said it would have been better to employ images from the Teletubbies rather than the gangsters from the bloodthirsty 1992 film. “It is totally wrong to try to promote a bus service by using a film which is well known for containing scenes of gratuitous violence,” he added. "There is an issue about assaults on bus drivers and we need to put over the message that buses are safe and friendly. Having drivers dressed as gangsters is hardly the image we should be conveying to encourage people to park their cars and get on a bus. “We want to be reassuring passengers that buses are safe and suitable for families and children.” The film - about a raid on a diamond outlet that goes horribly wrong because one of the gangsters is an undercover cop - ends in a bloodbath and features a scene in which a policeman being held hostage has his ear cut off to the strains of Stealer’s Wheel’s 1974 hit Stuck in the Middle With You. “The film has been used because of its association with naming men after different colours and the fact that our buses are now colour-coded,” said Mr East. “But they could have thought of something more innocuous and harmless like the Teletubbies or some other character from children’s TV or books. Using the film has misjudged the whole issue. The colours in the film do not even match the colours of our buses.” Mick Castle, the council’s Labour member for transport, also had reservations. “I am pleased to see anything that is going to get more people using park-and-ride sites. But this particular campaign may have lost the plot a little,” he said. Tina Rust, of the Passenger Transport Unit - who crops up in the background of the new posters - insisted that the Let’s Go To Work catchphrase and colour-coded characters were ideally suited to a “creative promotion” for the park-and-ride services. “The film, while undeniably brutal, is also very funny and sends a message, ultimately, that violence is futile,” she said. "Let’s Go To Work is a very apt phrase for the many thousands of people using what is an increasingly successful service. "While we would never wish to cause offence, we expect people in Norfolk to see this for what it is - an attempt to get park-and-ride to appeal to a younger audience."
Aint that cool…