Coca-Cola Sign

Driving home Monday after spending Sunday night with my parents, I came a different way than usual. In downtown Union, SC, these weathered walls revealed layers of advertising from the last century.

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If the right paint is used at the beginning, what is added later won’t remove the imprint that is there. I’m grateful for my parents who sacrificed to provide the right paint for their children.

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Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 6:12 pm  Comments (5)  

Pepsi-Cola Sign

Years ago, when I was using my Minolta X370 film camera, I sought out soft drink ads painted on brick walls. I have a small collection somewhere of the photos I took while hoping to preserve a glimpse of quieter marketing methods than were current for cola companies of the time. My favorite is of an Orange Crush ad painted on a building in Belton, SC.

Well, last weekend, while riding through Raeford, NC, to one of the bird trips, one of the women in my truck excitedly announced that she had just seen a Pepsi advertisement painted on an old brick wall. She was quite enthusiastic about finding it, and I was impressed; I didn’t know other people recognized the specialness the medium.

On the way back after seven hours of birding, talk turned again to the cola sign. The woman who had noticed it pleaded that we should stop and see it better. I wasn’t arguing! So we stopped, and this beauty became one of the best finds of the whole weekend.

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Published in: on May 9, 2008 at 10:22 pm  Comments (2)  

Kayak Ad Followup

You might remember a previous posting on this blog entitled Is ‘S’ a Sexy Letter? . In that article I reported about three kayak companies that had highly similar slogans in their magazine ads. Well, guess what? I found another one! Seda is a very respected kayak company based in California, and they’ve been producing boats since 1969. Their ad in the February 2008 issue of Sea Kayaker magazine includes this slogan: strength. speed. spirit.

Surely there can be no others.

Published in: on March 6, 2008 at 4:25 am  Comments (2)  

Is ‘S’ a Sexy Letter?

The reason I’m asking is because of a trend I’ve noticed. A few weeks ago I was reading the Canoe & Kayak Buyer’s Guide 2008 — a great resource! — and one of the ads caught my eye. Warren Light Craft is a maker of very fine composite kayaks, and their advertisement included this catchy slogan: Speed. Stability. Soul.

Then, just a few pages over, I saw an ad for the Nemo, a boat by Kayakpro, and their slogan was this: Swift. Smooth. Sophisticated.

That was amazing. I grabbed some other kayak magazines that were handy and checked to see if those were the only examples, and, incredibly, there was one more. Seaward Kayaks claimed this of their boats: Safe. Strong. Seaworthy.

What’s going on, here? I imagined the advertising personnel of these companies scanning through the magazine and slumping in disgust over the embarassing coincidence. It must have been like that episode of Seinfeld when Kramer and Mickey bought the same shirt, instantly knowing they could never wear them at the same time (“We’d look like IDIOTS!!”). I’m not saying the kayak companies look like idiots, but why all the esses? And why three of them in each case?

Perhaps there’s a subliminal element to it. The number three has a feeling of completeness about it, you probably know. And to use it in this manner implants the notion of conclusion in the mind of the reader/shopper, providing a subconscious message that there is no need to shop further. It’s really quite effective. But also, this: When out on the water, the slick, smooth slice of the paddle blade approximates an ‘s’ sound, and, yes, it is very repetitive — you might even say seductive, succinct, satisfying. So, thus engaging the salivation of paddlers who know the sport, those advertisers knew what they were doing…they just didn’t know what each other was doing, and I think that’s wonderfully funny!

Maybe I should generate a similar sexy slogan for my blog and see if it gets more hits that way.

No. Maybe I shouldn’t.

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Addendum: Just before I finished writing my thoughts above, I was flipping through the current issue of a United Methodist magazine called Circuit Rider. There, on page 27, was a full page ad for a three-day conference to be held at Duke University’s Divinity School, and the title at the top of the announcement was Signs, Sighs, & Significance. Wow.

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Read this followup article from March 6, 2008.

Published in: on January 4, 2008 at 6:24 pm  Comments (7)  

Right Out of the Package

The “wrinkle free” shirt I tried on yesterday looked like someone had just peeled it off of an elephant’s butt.

Perhaps “wrinkle free” is just garment makers’ shorthand for “Wrinkles are free — no extra charge for all these fine, top quality, multi-directional creases!”

So then I ironed it. With steam. I put the crisp, smooth cotton shirt on a hanger just in time to watch the map-like pattern magically reappear. Now I’m washing it, and I hear that the machine has stopped; excuse me while I go put it in the dryer.

(I thought this was a blog about kayaking. Why am I talking about laundry?)

Published in: on September 10, 2007 at 10:10 pm  Comments (5)