Sunday, December 9, 2012

Signs Matter: From Amendment Bumpstickers to Political Buttons.

From my blog on

In the height of the election season, it seemed liked there were signs everywhere along the roadside, with two or three political parties pushing their candidates and issues upon the electorate, whether we liked it or not. Phone calls were made to various houses (usually more than once). Car and truck bumpers and fenders communicated who was the driver’s personal favorite candidate. People’s lapels, baseball caps, hats, pockets, and backpacks were full of opinions. No one was shy about publicizing a preference on a smattering of people and issues. T-shirts and sweatshirts were no longer advertising a favorite university, college, or seaside resort, but expressed someone’s choice for president. Everywhere I turned, I saw signs that screamed for me to read them, pay attention, and decide! I wore a small pin with the rainbow colors that says “All Families Matter.”
This is nothing new. Plastering signs on roadsides, bumpers, lapels, t-shirts, and sweatshirts in order to sell a product is a favorite activity of Madison Avenue publicity firms. They are ingenuous enough to have people actually buy the name of a company and wear it. Gap, Old Navy, Aeropostale, Hollister, Abercrombie and Fitch, Polo, Gucci, Chanel, etc., are emblazoned on everything that is wearable, from earrings and bracelets, to purses and shirts, and proudly worn by consumers. On the one hand, we are telling the world where we buy clothes, proud of our middle-class lifestyle. On the other hand, we become free human billboards and signs for these companies, paying anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars to advertise their name. What is fascinating is that few people seem to be “in” on the business trick.
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