Showing posts with label advertise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advertise. Show all posts

13 December 2012

I Never Saw A Strange Red Cow


by Robert Lopresti

Late last year I was interviewed by a researcher for a Canadian radio show about advertizing called Under The Influence.  This was for an episode about classified ads,  although you won't find my name in the credits.  Fame slips through my fingers once again. 

But what fascinated me in this broadcast was the reference to a book called Strange Red Cow by Sara Bader.  Bader explains in her introduction that she had been looking through eighteenth century newspapers for reactions to the Declaration of Independence when her eye was caught by the following classified ad:


CAME to my plantation, in Springfield, township, Philadelphia county, near Flour-town, the 26th of March 1776, A STRANGE RED COW.  The owner may have her again, on proving his property, and paying charges.  - Philip Miller, May 1, 1776. Pennsylvania Gazette.

(I should say that the ad actually said townfhip, but in the interest of your time and sanity I have changed all the extraneous Fs in this piece to Ss.)

So this is a book about old classified ads, and it is endlessly fascinating, especially to a writer.  Each of these ads in an unfinished short story, a beginning with no middle or end.

$15 REWARD - LOST, ON THE HUDSON RIVER Railroad, in the quarter to 5 o'clock train from New York, a set of teeth on a gold plate.  They were dropped out of the window on the right hand side of the way, supposed between the Tarrytown and Sing Sing stations, or at a short distance this side of Tarrytown...  -April 4, 1855, New York Herald.

$50 REWARD - STOLEN, ON WEDNESDAY (17th) evening, between 9 and 10 o'clock, a curiously deformed Hen, without a beak, and head shaped somewhat like a monkey; highly valued as a curiosity. -May 19, 1865, New York Herald. 

STOP THE RUNAWAY.
FIFTY DOLLAR REWARD,
ELOPED from the subscriber, living near Nashville, on the 25th at Hune last, a Mulatto Man Slave, about thirty years old, six feet and an inch high, stout made and active, talks sensible, stoops in his walk, and has a remarkable large foot, broad across the root of the toes -- will pass for a free man, as I am informed he has obtained by some means, certificates as such...  ten dollars extra, for every hundred lashes any person will give him, to the amount of three hundred. -ANDREW JACKSON, Near Nashville, State of Tennessee


Yes, it was THAT Andrew Jackson

Information Wanted
Of PATRICK FITZGERALD, a native of Ownscoil, county Kerry, who came to America about three years ago, leaving his wife and one child in Ireland.  He was seem in Boston 3 weeks ago.  Any information respecting his hereabouts at present will be thankfully received by his wife, Bridget, who has lately arrived in Boston in search of him....  July 14, 1849, Boston Pilot.

MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE - LEFT his lodgings a short time since, a young man of rather prepossessing appearance, dark eyes and florid complexion, hair dark brown and inclined to curl. When last seen he was dressed in a broadcloth coat, peppered breeches, and silk hat.  Any information concerning him, left either at the Granite hotel, Lester place, or at this office, will be thankfully received.
P.S. A very curious kind of written poem has been found in his room in his own handwriting.  I should be obliged if some of our best critics would call and examine this queer poem.


One type of ad still popular today in alternative papers, is the personal, which Sherlock Holmes lovingly referred to as the "agony column."

J.A.R. - SARCASM AND INDIFFERENCE HAVE driven me from you.  I sail in next steamer for Europe.  Shall I purchase tickets for two, or do you prefer to remain to wound some other loving heart?  Answer quick, or all is lost.  EMELIE.  1865.

ROSE -IT IS USELESS - YOU ARE TOO LOVELY TO be trifled with.  I am married.  BENEDICT.

A YOUNG LADY, COUNTRY BRED, BUT EASILY tamed and civilized, would like to correspond with a city gentleman, with a view to matrimony.  It is necessary for him to be wealthy, and not less than forty years of age, as she would "rather be an old man's darling than a young man's slave."  The advertiser is 21, and presumes her manners and apparance will recommend her to tastes not over fastidious... 1861.

NIBLO'S, MONDAY EVENING -- OCCUPIED Adjoining seats in parquet; repeated pressure of arm and foot and hands met when seperating.  If agreeable, address Bruno... 1867.


And then there is that old favorite, the want ad.

WANTED
At the Bennington Cotton Factory,
SEVERAL FAMILIES     that can furnish a number of children each.  To such constant employ will be given, and wages paid according to the ability of the children....1821, Vermont Gazette.

WANTED, A YOUNG HEALTHY WET NURSE.  One who has had the smallpox will be most agreeable... 1765, Georgia Gazette.


One mandolin, with all its strings, dulcet tone for basket of vegetables.  - December 1835.

Now, that last one is tragic.  But don't you wish you could read all those stories? Or write them?

02 November 2012

Mysterious Signs


by Dixon Hill

Well, it's the first Friday in November. And, if you're reading this, you've  managed to survive another Halloween (and the accompanying storm, if you're on the East Coast).

We've got just one more night of terror to come, this year:  Election Eve.

That's right, come next Tuesday night -- no matter who wins -- polls indicate about half the nation will be upset about it, certain that we're entering a new era of a "long national nightmare."  But, there's also something fun going on .  And, that fun stuff involves not only elections, but also a real-life mystery of sorts.

Signs of the Times





Mysteries come in many shapes and sizes.  So do political campaign signs.








Those signs seem to multiply like rabbits!  Don't they?  They sprout up just about everywhere -- at least around my town.







Here's a mystery for you:  Which of these campaign signs isn't really campaigning for the candidate on the sign?






























If you picked the sign below, you're right!




















But, you may ask, if it's not campaigning for Mitt Romney, who or what is this sign campaigning for? And, Dixon Hill, how do you know it's not campaigning for Romney?


To answer the last question first, let me show you another sign put out by the same group.  This sign clearly does not support Romney.















Now . . . To answer that first question, let's do a little investigating.  Shall we?

Since a fairly recent Supreme Court decision, Political Action Committees (PACs) have been granted much freer range for advertisement associated with political campaigns.  The PAC behind this sign is shown below.

Citizens for Sushi?

Who the heck are they?  Are they really a Political Action Committee?  Or are they something a little different?


The Answer is BOTH

They're a real PAC, but the members are people in the restaurant industry.  Very particular members, in fact.  To see what I mean, let's take a closer look at part of that Obama sign.  You see, the Stingray Sushi restaurant uses this logo -- complete with the anime girl -- on much of its advertisement.


Below is a shot of the Stingray Sushi restaurant, here in Scottsdale.  See any signage similarities?


Stingray Sushi is a sushi bar for young, hip kids with lots of cash to drop.  The owners have worked like crazy to promote their restaurant, using an anime girl -- the same one you see on the political signs -- on signs around town, for several years.

Scottsdale and most towns in The Valley, however, have very strict sign codes.  There are almost no billboards in The Valley of The Sun.  So, Stingray Sushi opted to plaster their signs on city buses and other locations that they could buy access to.

The problem is, that little anime gal sometimes gets a bit risque.  Note the look on her face (and the use of her hand) to lend a slightly different meaning to the words "Mitt bit my sushi!" in the Romney ad.

She wound up being too risque for city buses in at least one instance -- resulting in the restaurant having to pull their ads.

What's a restaurant owner to do???

Well, in this case, they take advantage of a fairly recent Supreme Court Decision and create their own PAC.  Then they go out and make signs supporting both candidates, and post them all over town.

This is a type of guerrilla marketing -- meaning that it's low-key, and relatively unregulated.  It flies beneath the radar of most cities, because state law doesn't permit cities to mess with campaign signs.  In fact, federal law is pretty strict about what you can do to limit campaign signage and advertisement, I believe (some of you feds might lend a correcting voice here, if needed).  And, this permits companies like Stingray Sushi to make a little advertisement "hay" while the political "sun shines".

Maybe you don't think that's a sort of fun idea, but I do.  I think it lends a bit of whimsy to a political season filled with scare tactics and negative advertisement, dumping virtual gallons of garbage into my living room every day.

And Stingray Sushi isn't the only business engaged in this practice.  A few more local samples are pasted below.

















 These guys are giving away free gelato -- all you have to do is cast your text-vote!!



And, you might want to note: KJZZ is our local NPR station.  
If you've been thinking this practice is "low brow" maybe this shot lends a different feeling to the idea.


So, have any of you seen examples of guerrilla marketing masquerading as campaign signs in your neighborhood?  Let us all know -- in the comments section.





























See you in two weeks,
--Dixon