This vacant lot supports the olympic bid

23Sep09

While walking back from the store on Sunday, I saw one of those signs designed to drum up support for Chicago’s 2016 olympic bid. The ad featured a picture of a cyclist or runner or swimmer or something, along with the text “We support the bid”. Presumably, the idea is that the venue displaying the sign is in favor of the olympic bid.

But there’s just one problem: the ad didn’t appear on an actual business. Instead, it was on a fence directly in front of an empty lot, with no indication of who owns the lot or what it might become. Who, exactly, is the “we” behind the ad? Without an obvious answer to the question, the ad becomes rather meaningless and could easily backfire.

That’s a shame, because this particular lot would be a perfectly decent place for most outdoor advertising. It’s near several hotels and restaurants, a lot of people walk by, and there are few competing billboards. But the ill-conceived text ruins the whole thing. What can we learn from this? If you’re going to place ads on vacant properties, you should probably be careful when using words like “we” as part of the message.



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