They say that the economy is
bad, but you would never know by the amount of advertisement you see
these days. They run so many ads back to back on Television that by
the time you get back to the program you have either lost interest
in the program or you have forgotten what the program was about. Now
I am just saying that some of this I can contribute to age, but as I
look around the room sometimes I see by the look on my wife’s face
that she too comes out of the commercial breaks a little confused.
Some of the ads are cute and some it would seem came from the mind
of someone who needs real long sessions on a couch. For the most
part we tolerate such things so we can watch our favorite shows. It
does seem that more popular the program the more commercials they
try to shove in between acts.
Advertisement, just like everything else, has evolved over the years
and thanks to the Super Bowl at least once a year we get a new batch
of cutting edge ads that kind of set the trend of the new years ads.
I remember back when I was a kid and got the chance to travel by
car, the first ads I remember were bill board signs and signs
painted on out building roofs and sides of barns. I am sure that
many of the people who read this will remember driving by a farm to
see the side of a barn closest to the road painted with an all black
background and a pouch of chewing tobacco by Mail Pouch. Sometimes
it was a roof top painted with a sign wanting you to “See Rock
City”. The favorite of all were the signs put up on the side of the
road by Burma Shave. They were catchy little five and six sign
collection that always seemed to stay with you for a long time. The
one I have remembered all these years was the one that went, Cattle
crossing/means go slow/that old bull/is some cows beau.
Some time ago when I was looking up some background for this column
I went on the internet and found most of those signs are
immortalized. It was even funny how the signs got their start. It
was the brain child of the son of the president of a company whose
chief product at the time was a face lotion. They came up with the
idea of a shaving cream that could be put in a can and wouldn’t need
a brush. The president was at first reluctant to try this new idea
in advertisement but decided that maybe he could blow two hundred
dollars to please his son. The signs were an instant success and
sales across the country zoomed as the signs found their way from
major to minor highways around the country.
They covered subjects from love to drunk driving. The wolf/is
shaved/so neat and trim/Red Riding hood/is chasing him/Burma Shave
or Ben met Anna/made a hit/neglected beard/Ben- Anna split/ Burma
Shave. Its best for/ one who hits/ the bottle/ to let another/ use
the throttle/ Burma Shave. Even if you were a stranger to the signs
they would get you with, If you/don’t know/whose signs/these are/you
can’t have driven/very far/Burma Shave.
We are about to be bombarded with another type of road side sign.
They like the Burma Shave ones will change but more rapidly than
Allan O’Dell or his father Clinton ever dreamed. These latest
billboards will be huge screens fed by satellite. The messages will
change to fit the flow of traffic and how many hit’s the advertiser
wishes to place. They will be sold just like ads on TV are and will
run for as long or as often as the owner wishes. The ads will be
much more glamorous than the old red and white Burma Shave signs and
they will even be animated if the owner wishes. The sky is the limit
and once the signs are up and connected by a satellite dish every
thing else from the ads to timing will be handled in an office some
where on Wall Street or maybe even someone with a simple lap top
computer in their home.
As Yakov Smirnoff the Russian comedian use to say, “What a