Monday, January 4, 2010

Little Photoshop of Horrors

Updated from WMATA Jan. 6 below

"Our operators (and Photoshop technicians) go a long way to give you a better fake image ... errr ... ride."

From Mike:
Have you seen the new Metrobus ads? I just saw one in the Archives. It seems Metro thought it would be a good idea to hire a company to do a promotional ad for "the New Metrobus." Not only did they spend money on creating the ad, but they also placed it in one of the prime advertising kiosks that could have gone to a paying customer like ... anyone but themselves.

They did save money in one area. The ad has a picture of about maybe 60 Metrobus drivers. There are a few women down front and four white guys interspersed through the picture. Actually, there are only three white guys because they used one white guy twice.

Yes, they actually took the white guy at the top of the ad and cropped him into the right of the ad, or vice versa. And good Photoshopping, too. I know what you're thinking - they must be twins. You would be wrong my friend. That is unless they are identical twins with the exact same half-grimace. I cracked up when I saw it.

You've got to check it out.

We did, Mike, and thanks to Metro's headways, we had time to find out there's more to it.

Either Metrobus drivers are populated by an inordinate number of twins--and one set of triplets--or there's less than meets the eye, as is so often the case with Metro PR. The ad states:

"These are just some of the Metrobus operators who know what it means to go farther. They've driven more than one million, accident-free miles. They loyalty of our million-milers and their dedication to the safety is setting the standard for the new and improved Metrobus."
Yet there aren't as many million milers as Metro would like you to believe. Check out the pics below. Why would Metro pull a stunt like this? The size of the group would have been impressive without the gimmickry. Guess those high-priced communications consultants will stop at nothing to "improve" Metro's image, even taking us for fools.


This guy is on the far right and the top. Notice Photoshop halo at bottom of left pic.


Notice the blur around the head on the right pic.


Not a copy, but looks like the same guy.


And here, the triplets. On the left pic, he's magically floating over a 999,999 miler and then again above.

UPDATE from WMATA: Metro currently has (at last count had) 115 operators with One Million Miles, 13 operators with Two Million Miles and three operators with Three Million Miles. We are extremely proud of each and every one of them.

The Metrobus operators shown in the picture did so voluntarily and on their own time. The picture was not intended to show each of the 131 million+ milers but refers to the group collectively. As is the case in advertising, the picture was edited, not in an attempt to inflate any numbers, there are more than twice the awardees shown, but to fill in gaps in the photo to make it more visually appealing.

It takes an average Metrobus operator between 12 and 15 years to achieve one million miles and receiving an award for safe service at one, two or three million miles should not be taken to mean that these are the only safe bus operators we have. Still, we decided to pull the ad because we did not want anyone to dismiss the value of what these hard-working super-safe bus operators do day in and day out on our congested roadways—some of the most congested in the country.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Way to go Metro! Triplet million milers is really incredible!

Michael said...

Wow.

Anonymous said...

You know what's funny? I saw that ad at Clarendon while on the train last month, and literally my first thought was "Bet you anything they can't possibly have that many good drivers and it's Photoshopped". Glad to see that my negative instinct about Metro is still the right one.

Anonymous said...

"Things will transform and improve every day."
cause we got us that PhotoShop now. ;)

Anonymous said...

a new low? fix the trains and the image will take care of itself!!

Anonymous said...

Wonder if they can Photoshop broken doors back in business with the lastest hairbrained idea? This version of the article (http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=1854969) actually has Metro Board Member Peter Benjamin saying it will have minimum impact. The Catoe virus is spreading... smaller cars, less frequent cars, excess crowding and Photoshop-fixed broken-door-trains-out-of-service! Welcome to 2010 - the year of the splat.

Anonymous said...

Can't...stop...laughing!

Anonymous said...

That is precisely what ails WMATA. They paid all that money to let somebody run wild with Photoshop Elements (I can't really tell what they used, but that is amateur hour work) and no one double checked the work.

Dan Franzen said...

As usual, they screwed up tonight's commute. I waited at Dupont for more than 20 minutes for a train going to Shady Grove. Meanwhile, on the other side of the platform, several trains arrived and departed - until one arrived that was promptly taken out of service. Seems that the doors were busted, or something, so everyone got offloaded (this was a train to Glenmont).

And then the train went backwards out of Dupont, in the direction of Shady Grove. I kept expecting it to suddenly brake hard, as if the operator had just realized it was going the wrong way. But I suppose they meant to do that..

Anonymous said...

I remember an old song:
I wanna go home...
I wanna go home...
Lord how I wanna go home.

Written in pre-Metro days. How'd they know what was to come? ;)

JoeB! said...

since the majority of the workers have dreads and cornrows the designer was forced to use photoshop..

Anonymous said...

Hehehe, my neighbor is duplicated twice lol.

Anonymous said...

to make it more visually appealing? that's a fancy way to say give false impression. agree that it would have been fine NOT to add the people. poor dumb metro

Anonymous said...

So, the metro comment above about removing it is, in reality, a confession that they forgot false advertising is illegal? heh heh

Anonymous said...

If I were one of the million milers who went in there on my own time to have a photo taken, I'd be pissed that Metro fucked up a great photo of some of its real stars.

Metro tried to trick out a perfectly good pic and screwed the drivers in it.

tim K said...

They pulled the ad. yay UNSUCK

Anonymous said...

seriously. who cares! you all have way too much time on your hands. rather than answering your stupid query about photoshoped advertisements, they could be doing something better with their time.

Anonymous said...

I love the bus. Best part of the system. Friendly drivers. Above-ground light! Cell phone coverage.

Anonymous said...

love the assumption from 1/6/10 10:30 that wmata would do something more worthwhile with their time

Telecomedian said...

As of yesterday, the ad was still in the Smithsonian station, and, ultimately, hilarious.

Maybe it isn't bad Photoshop, but simply good cloning?

Jamie said...

As much as I think this is a great example of bad photoshopping, it's a pretty big stretch to call it "false advertising."

Bad judgment on the part of the advertising agency? Yes.

Conspiracy or deception? Come on. Even if none of the people pictured were actually metrobus drivers, who cares? Do you really think that every time you see someone in an ad telling you how great they think a product is, that they are actually a user of the product?

If you want to get technical, as long as everyone pictured is a million-miler, it's not even a lie. They just pictured the same million milers more than once. Everyone pictures still qualifies.

Anonymous said...

JoeB, you're a racist a-hole.

anyone know what agency created the ad?

Anonymous said...

Have we fired Catoe yet?

Anonymous said...

"So, the metro comment above about removing it is, in reality, a confession that they forgot false advertising is illegal?"

This is not false advertising--no claim is being made by the images in question. They could have duplicated the same guy 100x and it wouldn't have mattered. This is bad PR for Metro, yes, but not illegal.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for the proud drivers who now don't get to have their faces on the ad. Wish Metro would just recreate the image honestly and have better placement (so as not to preclude advertising dollars).

Anonymous said...

embarassing to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Y'know, hiring a good professional photographer would have gone a long way to preventing this.

I understand that the drivers probably couldn't all be there at once. So, if that were the case, go with a different direction in regards to the photo concept.

Sometimes less is more.

Daniel Honker said...

This is funny, and it's quite a black eye for WMATA. But I can't help but notice how WMATA's responses somewhat toned down the normal bureaucratic-speak and admitted they edited the picture. I think we really need to commend them for some honesty here!

Anonymous said...

What is the matter with you people defending metro? The real issue is them wasting money on creating the ads, and yes there are others, and using advertising space in the system. I bet McDonalds or any company would pay a hefty sum to have their ad placed where the current Metrobus ads are. Is anyone more likely to ride Metrobus because of the ads? Do they generate more ridership? Does anyone believe that? I have been harrassed and groped on Metrobus. I avoid it like the plague.

Jamie said...

What makes you think that the ad space was otherwise sold?

Anonymous said...

OK, it seems metro executives have indeed found a "better use" of their time by getting on this blog. Hey metro employees, I've got a fun story for you. This morning, I was in the first car of my inbound Red train when the operator stopped the train as soon as it reached the northern edge of the Grosvenor platform. The train door opened and a woman got on (apparently a driver) and started yelling for "Ray". I guess he was the driver she was replacing. Well, since the door was open, a rider tried to exit and she body blocked him saying that "this stop was not for him". The drivers switched and the train proceeded to the end of the platform where the operator switch should have occurred. I guess the replacement driver didn't want to walk the length of the platform. With gas under $3 a gallon and my train ride and metro parking at $15 a day, I may consider driving into work again.

Anonymous said...

"I bet McDonalds or any company would pay a hefty sum to have their ad placed where the current Metrobus ads are."

How much are you willing to bet? Do you think all companies are just tripping over themselves to pay large sums to advertise within the Metro system, particularly in an economic environment where most organizations are significantly cutting back on advertising expenditures?

Anonymous said...

"OK, it seems metro executives have indeed found a "better use" of their time by getting on this blog."

Yes, God forbid anyone actually fact check the absurdity coming forth from the comments here. It doesn't take a Metro executive to know that the ads aren't false advertising, or that not every advertising space within the system is sold 100% of the time. But, hey, if it makes us feel better to pretend otherwise, have at it. But it's just venting at that point.

Anonymous said...

It seems evident that metro employees are indeed "fact checking" this blog. Do me a favor please? Get out of your office and sell the remaining advertising space if it's not "sold 100% of the time." And don't waste money creating ads that only attempt to enhance Metro's image. Metro employees, if you have time to be on this blog, you should get out of your offices at Metro headquarters and make sure the system is safe and reliable. What we really need is a strong leader from outside DC who will come in and shake up Metro and inject some common sense into Metro's management and operations.

Anonymous said...

"It seems evident that metro employees are indeed "fact checking" this blog."

Then your powers of perception are lacking.

Anonymous said...

It has been mentioned on this blog multiple times before that a private company pays WMATA for the rights to sell the ad space in Metro and on the buses. So either that company isn't botherin to sell that space, or (as I suspect) nobody is buying. So if anybody is willing to "bet" that companies are chomping at the bit to get their hands on WMATAs advertising space, my guess is you bet wrong.

Anonymous said...

meto bus is a disgrace i rode the x2 line on a rainy day and the bus leaked water on every window seat on another occasion they gambled in the back of the bus very loudly and the driver said nothing. The x2 is still running old beat up buses. the people that ride that bus deserve to ride in comfort to we all pay the same fare.

Post a Comment

Post a Comment

 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.
Site Meter