Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Up Yours - billboard

I saw this billboard today while on my travels between Johannesburg and Pretoria (Let me not bore you with that trip report) And as a keen billboard enthusiast... wait a minute, that sounds odd, who in their right mind would ever confess to being a billboard enthusiast? Ok, I do.

I digress. As a billboard spotter, who has a particular fondness for Out of Home advertising, I obviously try to look at every billboard that I pass. Dangerous business by the way, we have so many these days that you don't get enough time to concentrate on the road.

So there I saw some new artwork on one of the 3x6 urban signs owned by the nice folks at Media Power. It was a little confusing at first but you know how the image of a 'pretty' lady looking out at you almost always catches your eye. Especially if you're a guy.

So the main image shows this woman who looks like a secretary, pushing her glasses back up onto her nose using 'the bird' or 'the finger' or as we say it in Jo'burg, 'a zap sign'. My immediate reaction was: ' hey, wtf!' and , 'why is she imitating our President?' (I see Jacob Zuma has learnt to use the index finger now.. ;-)
I didn't immediately recognise the advertiser as the yellow lettering on the white background isn't the best option but after doing a quick double take I saw it was Teasers. Then I noticed the secondary image in the background, which was a photo of a previous out of home campaign by the same advertiser, Teasers. That campaign however was previously banned and there was a big black strip over it with the words ASA Banned. There was a whole debate about the ad making inferences to Caster Semenya.

And then the penny dropped and I burst out laughing. I think the message is subtle enough though and I'm sure that someone will complain about this too, not about offensive nudity which will no doubt deprave and offend every male above the age of five. But how it's teaching our women, also over the age of five, very rude sign language!
I hope not, there are to many people who are leaving all their child rearing to billboards and they are the ones who tend to complain.

As this blog is really about creativity on billboards, I can't say that this one scores high in that department. The idea is good, the execution is ok but the whole thing doesn't gel together well. The yellow text is, as I said, not that legible. I think what you are supposed to read is: ' See our ASA banned Girls' but the execution doesn't quite get that right. In fact the word 'girls' also gets lost against the background. As far as keeping it simple; a little too much happening. There are two messages here, 'come see our girls' which is obviously the main idea and the second message to those who don't like their campaigns and who banned their campaigns.

But is the add, effective? Well, I must confess that it caught my attention and, if I was so inclined, I might take note of the fact that Teasers has 'Banned' Girls and perhaps go for coffee. :-P The mere sub-category of advertising will always cause a stir so people will talk about it and that in it self is effective, right?

the original offending billboard, here is what it looked like!

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