a good billboard

July 5, 2010

I like this.

As a soccer agnostic, a lot of the World Cup-themed advertising that’s around at the moment has either gone over my head or just kind of made me think, yeah, not relevant to me, whatever.

This billboard is different. Somehow it’s managed to weld together the hype around the World Cup with something that transcends the game itself altogether: the thrill of travel, and that sheer giddy sense you can get, as a traveller, about the simultaneous immensity and smallness of the world.

In essence, it’s simply an airport departures board, just uprooted and planted on William Street. But the unexpected placement, together with the immediacy and topicality of its message, has made me realise something.

Something both about the billboard, and about the World Cup itself.

It’s not about soccer. It’s about connections.

Sure, maybe I’m overinterpreting. But every morning, as I walk down William Street, past the giant Coke logo – surely Sydney’s most obtuse and unsubtle (albeit iconic) piece of branding – I’m struck by the cleverness of this temporary upstart which faces it.

Somehow – whod’ve thought it? – a billboard has given me an appreciation of soccer.

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3 Responses to “a good billboard”

  1. Michael Says:

    Actually I see it as more of an empty tokenism:

    “Dear INSERT_CUSTOMER_SEGMENT,
    We hope you’re enjoying INSERT_RELEVANT_DEMOGRAPHIC_ACTIVITY”

    Maybe you’re just a level 12 cynic whereas I’m a 12.2!


  2. Hah, perhaps! It definitely is opportunistic, I agree… but then, advertising IS opportunistic. It’s trying to sell airline tickets, after all, not turn the world into a giant hippy-trippy happy-clappy hug. But I love the way it manages, at least, to make you forget about the fact you’re being sold to, just for a moment.
    But maybe that’s just me. And I’m actually the most naively uncynical person I know, so in fact, it probably IS just me…
    LOVE your blog btw michael!!!

  3. Michael Says:

    Thanks!

    Maybe it’s just from me working in online advertising and knowing about keyword substitution. For instance, if you Google [flight to spain], the sponsored links usually say “Cheap Flights To Spain” because they can just specify “Cheap XXX” and Google fills in whatever you typed for XXX for them. But for the Emirates ad the bells and whistles of this fill-in-the-blank trick are made completely obvious because they have a tableau that looks so different to the text! If it was in the same style as the rest of the ad it would probably look less artificial.


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