do not read this title

Here is a picture of a billboard on an interstate about a mile north of our house (you clickee make biggee):
Just how much not thinking things through is on display in this sign?

1. The layout and font choices here don’t really suggest “public service announcement.” They’re rather more advertising-y, and the red, black, and white color scheme evokes a sort of vague attempt at “edginess” (a word I despise), as does the perspective treatment of the main phrase “DISTRACTIONS DO.”

2. Much of the text isn’t legible from a distance (I intentionally took the shot so at small size, it wouldn’t be legible). The word “DO” is scrunched up, and rather a blur. The word that stands out most is “DISTRACTIONS.”

3. The first two items, combined with the picture of the young blonde woman…well, I confess my first thought seeing this sign was that someone had opened a “gentlemen’s club” called “Distractions.”

4. That graphic doesn’t make a lot of sense. It appears to be framed in the driver’s side mirror – but from a perspective that the driver couldn’t see. The woman is talking on a cell phone, yes…but what’s the reddish blur behind her? An oncoming vehicle (with red lights?)? A sheriff’s squad car with its lights flashing? Is she supposed to be the “distracted” driver, about to be in a crash? Where are we in relation to her?

5. The print at the top of the billboard is way too small – given that it mentions Sheriff Clarke’s name, I’m surprised it wasn’t in type larger than everything else on the billboard…

6. The message – that more crashes are caused by distractions than inclement weather – is obviously bullshit. Crashes go up in inclement weather, no? So even if one is “distracted” by blowing snow or slippery roads, surely those things are contributing causes. And what’s the point of the ad anyway? “Don’t worry about the slippery, slushy mess – drive as fast as you want so long as you’re paying attention”?

7. And of course, what everything above adds up to, the message of the billboard is hilariously at odds with the billboard’s very presence. The absurdity of its message is more readily glimpsed if its central idea is rephrased to KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD! Which message, of course, impossible to do if you’re reading the billboard.

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