Friday, March 10, 2006


A lot of people seem to not like billboards for aesthetic reasons. Some of them want them banned outright, or at least have the city prevent any new ones from going up. I personally do not have a problem with the billboards, and as a Libertarian I cannot support passing a law against what I feel is constitutionally protected speech.

But I have a solution! Avoid buying the products and services advertised on those billboards. Companies that are public relations conscious will no longer use that medium for marketing purposes.

And I just can't help but notice all these billboard ads for Republican candidates for county commissioner plastered all over downtown Fort Wayne. I don't even think this is an attempt by them to get us to vote for them. They know they are going to win. I think that they are trying to rub my face in the fact that they are so certain that they are going to win. They are using a forum that a lot of people are lobbying against, as if to say "Hell Yeah! GOP 4ever! I'd win even if I left a steaming turd on the corner of Main and Calhoun!" They sort of remind me of all those murals of Saddam that were all over Iraq before 2003. No, I'm not accusing our local officials of genocide. I'm accusing them of colossal arrogance.

Political billboard ads usually just feature the face, name, and party affiliation of the candidate. They don't even say why you should vote for the candidate. I think candidates just buy them for the ego boost of seeing their own face plastered everywhere. So my personal guarantee to voters is that since I am trying to do my best to get you people to like me, I am not going to intentionally upset you by actively promoting what many consider to be an eyesore.

My advise to the billboard companies is that they could try working on some PR themselves. Try putting up the work of local art and photography students on billboards that are in between clients. I see billboards that have ads for events that have taken place back in January. That can't possibly be making you any money or doing anyone else any good. So put up a nice photo taken by a high school student of, for instance, a close up shot of baby geese. Don't use any of that Maplethorpe leather-and-chains crap, because that will just make things worse.


  1. I like billboards. It stems from a road trip I took in 1998, driving from Seattle to LA.

    When you were entering San Jose, you knew it. Billboards for all the tech companies were everywhere. It was thrilling in its own way. You knew this was a prosperous region. You got a taste of the excitement of the day just hitting the highway.

    It was a startling contrast to the very beautiful natural scenery found on California's Highway 1. I wouldn't want those billboards on that scenic roadway, but in Silicon Valley, they really made the scene.

    Likewise, today, when you spin off I-465 and onto I-69 towards Fishers, you know that you are heading into a booming area. The billboards are the tip-off, advertizing knew housing mainly.

    Oh, and there's that First Amendment.

  2. Great idea, if we could get the bb companies to see any value in it.
    Maybe a public service announcement with kudos at the end in smaller type. "This message brought to you by Burkhart. In the air because we care".