As an advertising professional, (I own The Next Wave, an ad agency) I am a big fan of outdoor advertising. Billboards, bus sides, vehicle wraps, building graphics and even street chalking. When companies use these techniques, they think about their brand image, their long-term perception and it’s typically part of a long-term awareness strategy- they want to improve their image in the community, typically communicating a “Unique Selling Proposition” or supporting their brand in a positive way.
Most smart brands wouldn’t come and desecrate the landscape with trash with their name on it. Even restaurants feel bad when customers throw their branded packaging on the street- it’s not positive PR, it’s not good for the brand.
But, politicians don’t think of long-term image (at least most don’t). They think it’s all about building name recognition quickly- and they go to any length to pollute our community with yard signs- only they don’t put them in yards- they put them anywhere you can stick two metal prongs into the earth. I’ve written about this before:
Political signs are the lowest form of political speech known to man- saying nothing. If having signs out is the only way the voters know you- you don’t belong in office anyway.
It’s time to have real debates, instant runoff voting, deliver equal space in an honest voter’s guide to every voter and move to vote by mail. In the meantime- let’s start by applying their own laws to their campaigns.
I’ve always been extremely conservative with my yard signs, only placing them on private property with permission of a voter. I try to put them on main roads. I always plan to go take them down the day after the election.
This year, it is the worst I’ve ever seen. At the same time your politicians are passing unconstitutional laws banning panhandlers from holding signs, they are expressing their right to litter other people’s and public land without any restriction or retribution.
As I’ve said many times, we do a lousy job of informing voters of who will be on a ballot. The media no longer covers politics unless it’s to fan the flames of deep pocket races which they profit from, and unless you have internet access, you will be assaulted by 30-second ads on TV that are of zero substance. Yard signs are the bottom of the heap when it comes to informing voters of your positions on issues and amount to nothing more than pandering.
We need to change the system of electing our “leaders” because the current system is just encouraging us to elect litterers.