Despite my best efforts, I was unable to totally escape advertising this weekend. Turns out Midwestern highways are much better than finishing schools to learn about the real ins-and-outs of the business.
1. On billboards, small town car dealers generally wear tuxedos and point at you or in the direction of their dealership. They really are very pointy people.
2. The less popular the restaurant chain, the more specific driving directions they tend put on their billboards. See, if the food isn't great, the directions need to be. Or so it seems.
3. Both churches and Adult-oriented merchants believe strongly in the power of outdoor advertising. Outdoor companies are laughing all the way to the bank.
4. Most professional copywriters still use too many words in outdoor (myself included). One exception (from Keystone Light) that made me smile: "Without beer, camping is just sleeping outside." Cheers to you, anonymous copywriter.
5. Some guy named Jesse Yokam will drill wells for you. Hey, if I need a well drilled, he's the only brand I know.
6. There really are lots and lots of McDonald's in the world.
7. It would take a good art director weeks to unsuccessfully duplicate the homemade appeal of the signs selling vegetables at roadside stands.
8. Ratty signage and a full parking lot is a good indication that you've found a decent local restaurant.
9. If one believes a man has cheated you in a business dealing, advertising can be a good weapon for revenge. This was evidenced by a huge homemade sign erected by the side of the road. It named the so-called cheat. Following good advertising practice, the sign had a telephone number to call for more information. I was a single digit from making that call when my wife insisted I hang up the phone.
10. Either the executives at DQ are nice people or they're just tired of suing every small-town soft-serve joint that infringes on them out of existence. Observed on the trip: Dairy King, Dairy Creme, Dairy Crest, Dairy Royale (and not with cheese).
11. My wife cannot pass an outlet of the Kum & Go chain of convenience stores without a small giggle. As far as I'm concerned, that's great marketing.
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