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   Undertoad  Wednesday Jul 16 03:11 PM

7/16/2003: Billboard Liberation Front strikes



Via Agenda Bender, this is the latest work of the Billboard Liberation Front, who strategically alter billboards to make a point. In this case the words "The Sappho Collection" were added to the billboard.

More images can be found here, along with a link to a news release that takes a kinda tongue in cheek view of the whole thing but makes a few interesting cases.

My blogger on the spot in this case feels that the modification is subtlely dumb in that they are pointing out what should be obvious to all who see the ad.

My own take is that, if the ad works perfectly, it will appear blindly evident to all those who care to see it -- and not at all evident to those who don't. If you want to see the women as lesbians, they appear to you as lesbians, and the ad works for you in that context. If you don't want to see the women as lesbians, you don't; and the ad works for you in THAT context, too.

TV ads have been playing with this a lot. The first example of it was Volkswagen's Golf ad featuring two young gents who find, and subsequently discard, a smelly old armchair. If you wanted to see those guys as gay, they were. VW took it a step further by sponsoring the Ellen "coming out" episode when other sponsors dropped out -- and that Golf ad was the first ad at the first commercial break. Could they be more clear about it?

But if you didn't watch that Ellen episode because you didn't go for such things, you probably didn't the VW Golf guys <-> Gay connection. (Come on, I know people who didn't, and resisted it when it was pointed out.) And the ad still worked for you; those were just two guys, driving around their semi-urban area together, looking for cheap ways to furnish their new apartment and communicating without words. (Yeah right)

So the BLF billboard addition "breaks" the ad by forcing the sexuality to be the primary aspect about it. It doesn't allow the viewer to interpret the photograph on their own. The problem, as blogger Bender points out, is that the billboard is located in San Francisco. If they really wanted to make the point strongly, they'd alter the same billboard somewhere where most people would interpret it as non-lesbian.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jul 16 04:43 PM

I think they look like sisters.



OnyxCougar  Wednesday Jul 16 05:29 PM

OK, maybe I've been sheltered or something, but I missed the Sappho reference.

So I looked it up, and found this.

Makes sense now.




Undertoad  Wednesday Jul 16 05:48 PM

I forgot to put "...and listen to Trio's 'Da Da Da'..." in the list of things that the Golf guys do.



Torrere  Wednesday Jul 16 07:52 PM

Thank you for the link, OnyxCougar. She has some very good poetry, it would seem.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jul 16 08:07 PM

What? Where? Golf guys?



OnyxCougar  Wednesday Jul 16 08:11 PM

Re: 7/16/2003: Billboard Liberation Front strikes

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
you probably didn't the VW Golf guys <-> Gay connection. (Come on, I know people who didn't, and resisted it when it was pointed out.) And the ad still worked for you; those were just two guys, driving around their semi-urban area together, looking for cheap ways to furnish their new apartment and communicating without words. (Yeah right)
Those Golf guys.


xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jul 16 08:18 PM

Thank You



OnyxCougar  Wednesday Jul 16 08:21 PM

Anytime, sweetie



Stonan  Wednesday Jul 16 11:44 PM

I just have to ask: Who the f*ck cares?

IMHO most people feel the same way. They're more intersted in the item(s) being flogged than the sexual orientation of the person(s) showing/demonstrating.

No one asks which way they vote or what religion they follow, why speculate on their sexual leanings?

I know, I know. Some people can't help themselves wondering. To those I say take a tour of the steamier side of the internet. It's the only place I know of that can actually cause you to be bored with sex...



Griff  Thursday Jul 17 07:34 AM

Re: Re: 7/16/2003: Billboard Liberation Front strikes

Quote:
Originally posted by OnyxCougar


Those Golf guys.
Yah, they were a bit too thin and a bit too tidy weren't they?


Tobiasly  Thursday Jul 17 07:43 AM

I didn't know who Sappho was either until I googled it. Guess their point would have been lost on me. I'm guessing it's some "inside" gay/lesbian reference, like Judy Garland?

So in that case, it seems like the BLF's target audience here would already be one predisposed to see the billboard as they are portraying it (aside from the fact that it's in San Francisco), and so I'd agree their efforts here are a little misplaced.



Griff  Thursday Jul 17 07:44 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Stonan

IMHO most people feel the same way. They're more intersted in the item(s) being flogged than the sexual orientation of the person(s) showing/demonstrating.
The sellers think its important, otherwise they wouldn't do it. I'm thinking of the Mitsubishi commercials with the very sexy heroin addicted chicks, if you drive this car you can have a car load of hot druggies? Sex sells to straights and gays alike but we still live in a world where some things have to be a little subtle so nobody freaks out.


Elspode  Thursday Jul 17 10:27 AM

Advertising overall is beginning to target more diverse groups, including gays and lesbians. Hey, if there's a niche, someone will try to fill it (pun intended).



russotto  Thursday Jul 17 10:35 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by Tobiasly
I didn't know who Sappho was either until I googled it. Guess their point would have been lost on me. I'm guessing it's some "inside" gay/lesbian reference, like Judy Garland?
Not an inside thing, but an overeducated thing.

Sappho of Lesbos is the reason lesbians are called lesbians. If you follow OnyxCougar's link, you'll see she wrote a lot of woman-on-woman poetry (actually, lyrics).

IIRC, during ancient times, Lesbos was known for its women -- not for their sexual proclivities, but for their beauty.


windhund  Thursday Jul 17 01:44 PM

I didn't pick up the "gay" thing in the VW Golf ad at all (maybe because my husband used to own a GTI? Dunno). What I saw was a pair of college roommates looking to furnish an apartment cheap - after all, who else has enough money for a decent car but not enough cash for decent furniture?

In other news, Tom and Ray from Car Talk did a poll on the Ultimate Lesbian and Gay cars, so somebody is indeed paying attention to this stuff:

http://cartalk.cars.com/About/Gay-Le...ay-chick1.html

Interestingly, the Golf comes in at #8 in that poll for the guys, and the ad is mentioned in the caption (though it refers to the chair as a "cool retro chair." Uh, not!)



dave  Thursday Jul 17 02:05 PM

I like how Volkswagen had <b>four</b> cars in the top ten Gay Guy cars.



Undertoad  Thursday Jul 17 03:50 PM

Which is just more evidence that most culturally-innocent Americans can't tell the difference between "gay" and "European".



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jul 17 05:45 PM

There's a difference?



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