The excitement was palpable as the stage was being set for this year’s CHOICE Shonky Awards
ceremony. The question on everyone’s lips: who will be the ignominious winners of the shiny Shonkys this year?
Hobnobbing in the Art Gallery of NSW with a who’s who of consumer media, sipping champagne and nibbling canapés, we enjoyed glorious views over Woolloomooloo, Garden Island and the harbour, waiting for the main event.
Guests were welcomed by CHOICE media spokesperson Christopher Zinn, explaining the omnipresent lemon motif and lamenting the products and services that leave a sour taste in consumers’ mouths. CHOICE CEO Nick Stace reminded us of the power consumers have to change things for the better – bank fees being a prime example.
Christopher then introduced his co-host, Jean Kittson, who asked “Where would we be without CHOICE?” Thinking trans fats are good for us because they’re organic, buying wine fridges
great for keeping your wine at a steady warm temperature, and thinking our bank cares about us for starters – she had quite a list.
Finally, drum roll, the main event.
And first off the blocks was the prize for “Water at what price”, awarded to Chef’s Cupboard and Massell liquid stocks – which are simply reconstituted stock powder. As our co-host, the delightful Vanessa Wagner (pictured above), amply demonstrated, making your own stock is pretty easy. And the rubber chickens she threw in for good measure made her stock just as “real” as the prize winners’. Jean, meanwhile, explained that homemade stock was an integral part of the lifecycle in her fridge: it’s where all the wilted celery and limp carrots go to die.
Next was the tribute to the pseudo-scientific language laid on thick by cosmetic companies to sell stuff that’s pretty thin on evidence that it actually does anything. Videographer Laurence Grayson’s Pro-Fecal B moisturiser ad illustrated the process perfectly. Cosmetics companies: we make shit up.
The Tiffany Food Processor, which won the award for Cheese-Fearing Surrender Monkey, obligingly buckled at the first sign of cheese. The bits of plastic scattered through the partially shredded cheese led to the brilliant idea of inventing a plastic lovers pizza. It seems not all things Tiffany are synonymous with quality and class.
Jean is up to speed on all things telco, what with a teenage daughter who has a mobile phone. So it was no surprise to her there was a prize for Teleconfusication, awarded to Tel.Pacific, a phone card company.
Jean had a sudden brainstorm: that using a laptop with Skype would be much cheaper than using an iPhone – if not as cool. So if you happen across a long suffering teenager with a laptop in her back pocket, that’s probably Jean’s daughter.
Credit protection insurance, it turns out, is just a licence to shred money – which Vanessa did with panache, courtesy of some slightly dodgy looking banknotes and a paper shredder.
Airline credit card surcharges, meanwhile, are financially cutting you off at the knees – a fine metaphor, Jean observed, for their economy class seating, which is designed for amputees.
And the event drew to a close. There were claps and cheers, lots a laughs, some pretty bad puns, but no tears because – can you believe it? – none of the prize winners turned up to collect their prizes. They’re in the post. Oh, and better luck next year.