Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Billboards - what were they thinking?

Maybe the title should be Car Ads - What were they thinking?

The one that drives me just nuts is the Chevrolet Cobalt ads where the car is yellow or red.

Cobalt while not blue naturally, turns blue under heat and there has long been a bright blue pigment called cobalt. (ref: http://www.chemsoc.org/viselements/pages/cobalt.html). Sometimes I think advertisers think they can just change the meaning of words just by using them repeatedly. Verizon claims again and again that it's the most reliable network and never has presented any evidence supporting that. They just proclaim it louder. In Chevrolet's case, they just keep making the non-cobalt colored Cobalt bigger and brighter. In my eyes, it just makes them look all the more stupid and they're working at making some Americans go along with them.

But Chevrolet isn't the only one with surreal marketing campaigns. Even my favorite Toyota is not exempt from putting lots of money into something really odd. In the SF Bay Area there are billboards that show a gas gauge with the needle on F(ull) saying "There's no E in Toyota." I have these visions of every driver passing that sign shouting "THERE'S NO F EITHER!!!" Who thought of that and are they just deliberately yanking our chains? (And would you believe Google has no matches for "There's no E in Toyota"? (Well there is now.)

Then there are the ad campaigns that are not stupid at all, but astonishingly brazen. SF is the gay male capital of the world if there ever was one. Abercrombie and Fitch is a clothing company that markets using just simply gorgeous, well muscled male models and A&F clearly gets a healthy income from gay men. For months/years on a very prominent billboard in SF, the clothing on the models got less and less and in recent months the clothing disappeared entirely and all you saw was a hunky male chest. Which was really funny. Whisps of clothing have returned less we forget that they actually are technically in the clothing business and not the skin trade (we think).

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