What do cavemen, gangbangers and national brands all have in common? Signs.

November 14, 2013

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Ever since helping give rise to the “Curiously Strong Mints” campaign for Altoids, I’ve been a huge fan of outdoor advertising. Especially posters, propaganda and signs. Yet, maybe the awe for it goes back even further than Altoids…

Case in point a small excerpt from my keynote presentation to the Outdoor Marketing Association of Canada (OMAC), which I gave earlier today:

…I grew up in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Nice now, but when I was a kid the area was rife with gang violence, in particular a turf war between the Latin Eagles and the Latin Kings. Their flamboyant signs permeated my neighborhood, haunting the alleyways, literally threatening me from around every corner. Marking their territory, if you will pardon the expression…

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Marking one’s territory has always been humanly relevant.

Crude as it sounds brands exert power marking their territory. We are here, they say. And we mean business. You cannot resist us! Granted, brands don’t jump you in the alley and take your bus money (not yet, anyway) but that doesn’t make my crude metaphor any less accurate. Signs and symbols have always been used to convey messages. For good. Evil. And everything in between. And OOH has done so for a longer stretch of time than all the other media combined.

2 Responses to “What do cavemen, gangbangers and national brands all have in common? Signs.”

  1. Peter Gibbons said

    “The Outdoor Marketing Association of Canada” . . . that’s hilarious.

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