One of the things that I love about being married to Murray is that we get to pick apart and criticize billboards together. I specialize in the words and graphic design. Murray specializes in the photography. Heck. Maybe we should just open our own billboard company.
Here are just a few brief examples:
* A billboard that says you can get dirty or something. It shows a left-handed mouse user with dirty hands. PROBLEMS: 1) Never show a left-handed mouse user on a billboard. It looks contrived and is unnecessary, and we all know that you did it because you felt it fit your design better. 2) The idea of getting dirty and the image of a dirty hand on a mouse looked more like a metaphor for pornography addiction. In actuality, the billboard was advertising some outdoorsy program at UVSC (now UVU).
* A billboard for some charitable sort of thing that has a portrait of an African on it. The portrait got your attention for sure, but unfortunately the font size and layout of the rest of the billboard was too small to read while you were zooming past on the freeway. These billboards were all over the place, which indicated that the charity spent a lot of money on the campaign, but due to illegibility, most of that money was likely wasted.
* DearElder.com. This example requires a little more background. First of all, you have to know who Kirby Heyborne is. He is a Mormon actor who was in a lot of Mormon movies. Second, you need to know about stock photography. If you are a stock photography model, your image can be bought and used by anyone. Remember that Friends episode where Joey is the poster boy for VD? Right. Well, before Kirby Heyborne got "famous" he modeled for some stock photography. And after he was famous in the Mormon community, other companies were able to buy the rights to his portrait because of his stock photographs. Basically, they could get celebrity endorsement for cheap. One of these companies was DearElder.com, and they proudly displayed Kirby Heyborne's face on their DearElder billboard for years and years. And years. As he got greener and greener in the forehead. Poor, poor Kirby. Recently, the DearElder.com billboard was taken down. But a few months later, it was back up on the Southbound I-15. But then something fishy happened. Suddenly the billboard the DearElder.com had paid money to put back up was replaced. What? Kirby Heyborne's face no longer endorsed the company. What changed? They'd just paid good money to put Kirby BACK UP? Could it have been this beer commercial where Kirby has two lines? "West?"
Maybe. All I know is that the beer commercial came out, and suddenly Kirby went down and DearElder's new billboard was campaigning for a NEW FACE to represent DearElder. Hopefully a non-beer-drinking face.
The billboard looks something like this, which is from their website:
My final example and the title of this post comes from a billboard that Murray and I saw while driving through Las Vegas. It was so nonsensical that I had to pause the podcast we were listening to and focus all of our combined attention to figuring out what Coca-Cola might have meant by this campaign. The billboard said: Coca-Cola. Like Sunscreen for Your Insides.
Excuse me? Let's think about this for a moment. In what way is Coca-Cola like sunscreen for your insides?
PROTECTION: Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun. Coca-Cola.... um.... rots your stomach lining and probably causes cancer or something.
REFRESHING: Coca-Cola is refreshing. Sunscreen.... um.... goes on your skin like lotion.
ABSTRACT/VS. TANGIBLE: Coca-Cola is a tangible thing. Sunscreen is a tangible thing. Your insides are a tangible thing. So maybe Coca-Cola would have done better to throw in some abstract concept there. Like Coca-Cola is like Sunshine for Your Insides. Coca-Cola is like Happiness for your Insides. Instead, Coca-Cola is compared to suncreen, another liquid, which make me and Murray imagine ourselves drinking sunscreen. For our insides.
So basically, if you are going to put up a billboard any time soon, consider contacting me and Murray because we can help your billboard not to suck. And we'll only charge you $4000 for our non-sucking services.