Een lief konijn is niet meer voldoende voor ProRail

26 november 2010

Helaas staat de besproken ProRail-spot nog niet op Youtube. De actualiteit dwingt ons echter om er nu toch over te publiceren.

Samen met NS heeft ProRail een reclamespot gemaakt. De bedoeling was om de in de winter opgelopen imagoschade teniet te doen. Maar ondertussen heeft ProRail alweer een nieuwe calamiteit achter de rug. De regio Utrecht ging urenlang plat. Net op de dag waarop de spot in première ging, debatteert de kamer over de vraag of ProRail moet blijven voortbestaan. Slechte timing.

Op 24 november vertoont de Ster een gezamenlijk spotje van NS en ProRail. De laatste is de beheerder van de Nederlands railinfrastructuur. Het blijkt een typisch imagospotje. De trein staat even stil in de vrije natuur. De Hoofdconducteur hurkt bij een moeder met een dochtertje van een jaar of zes. Hij wijst naar buiten op een konijn, dat de warmte opzoekt van een wisselwarmer. De man legt uit dat door het hele land konijntjes zich kunnen opwarmen bij dit soort verwarmingselementen.
De boodschap is duidelijk, vrees geen problemen als in de afgelopen winter. Door de nieuwe wisselwarmers zullen de wissels niet meer vastvriezen en zo het landelijke treinverkeer ontwrichten.
Ook het konijn heeft een functie. In 2008 schokte ProRail grote groepen mensen met de mededeling dat ze konijnen in de omgeving van het spoor meedogenloos wilden bejagen met fretten. Maar blijkbaar heeft voortschrijdend inzicht de infrastructuurbeheerder ertoe gebracht, die arme beestjes juist de warmte te gunnen van de elektrische wisselkacheltjes.
Op dezelfde dag waarop de spot voor het eerst op tv was, debatteerde de kamer over Prorail. De reden was een brandje in een wissel- en seininstallatie op Utrecht cs, die op 20 november in de omgeving van Utrecht het treinverkeer volledig en langdurig platlegde. Dat was blijkbaar net een drama te veel voor de kamer.

Krediet
Arie Slob van de Christen Unie vond dat het krediet van ProRail op was en pleitte ervoor het bedrijf op te heffen en als afdeling van Rijkswaterstaat weer direct onder het ministerie te plaatsen. Slob: “Er is altijd wat aan de hand en er wordt altijd gewerkt aan een oplossing. Het is net een repeterende wekker.”
Charlie Aptroot van Rijkswaterstaat was ook hard in zijn oordeel. Volgens hem was de maat vol en moest zowel de raad van commissarissen als de directie eruit worden gegooid. “Ze gaan er allemaal uit. We zijn het vertrouwen helemaal kwijt.” Pikant is dat die directie er niet zo heel lang geleden op heeft aangedrongen de directiesalarissen aanzienlijk op te krikken. Dit verzoek heeft de toenmalige minister, Camiel Eurlings resoluut van tafel geveegd.
Ineke van Gent van Groen Links zag weinig grond voor begrip: “Dit is een ernstige situatie. Bij iedere calamiteit gaat daar het licht uit.”
Maatschappij voor Beter OV, een organisatie voor reisconsumenten, kwam met de slogan van de dag. “ProRail is niets en zal nooit wat worden.”
En net die avond komen ProRail en NS, zijn belangrijkste klant, via een spot over een aardige conducteur, een lief meisje, een charmante moeder en schattig konijntje een niets aan de hand boodschap brengen. Die timing is op zijn zachtst gezegd ongelukkig. Maar ja, ook publicitair is er blijkbaar altijd wat aan de hand bij ProRail. Ongetwijfeld zal er ook na deze publicitaire blunder hard gewerkt worden aan een oplossing.

Conclusie
Terwijl ProRail bezig was om de imagopijn van de afgelopen winter een beetje te verzachten, trad de wet van behoud van ellende onmiddellijk in. Werken aan het verbeteren van je imago, terwijl het tegelijkertijd verder in verval raakt, is niet alleen zinloos, maar het maakt je dure imagocampagne tot een lachertje en dat is per definitie contraproductief.

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