Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Someone needs to tell them

I went on an extremely long and odd walk today, and was greeted (in part) by not-as-long but definitely-odd reminders of the strange cultural space that is my city. One such reminder came in the form of a real estate sign that brought rushing back to my mind an old pet peeve about promotion and advertising.

Admittedly, I AM one of those humans who is generally pretty offended by advertising, even the very creative stuff that spills out from that industry on a regular basis. At best, it has always seemed a tragic waste that minds able to spin such highly unusual angles on the way at which the world can be seen are doing so to sell a product. At worst, advertising is object porn that has absolutely nothing interesting about it at all.

Promotion of oneself can fall into the pits of despair advertising is born in, and stay there, or it can be an effective tool if done with the integrity and the honesty that seem to be almost embarrassing to talk about currently. However, just remember that if you're promoting yourself, for better or for worse, please please please don't use a crazy picture to do so.

This image came from a real estate agent's sign, which I chose to crop in order to keep the person's anonymity secure, even though I can assure you that's the last thing the sign was initially intended for. Why the crazy face? It's kind of amazing, as it reminds me of those insane cheerleader smiles that we're taught entices folks (this time around potential homeowners) into our clutches.

It reminds me of another crazy advertising trend, that of labelling products with key words that don't actually make any sense in relation to what they're talking about. Fresh. Hip. Electric. If you see them on the metro, you won't bat an eye, but if you THINK about them, they actually sound completely insane.

Which, I gotta admit, is what our friend here looks like. Taken out of the context of her real estate sign, would you look at her and think, "this person can competently sell me a house?"

Time to stop with the crazy smile, peeps. Time to get a few friends to be brutally honest about your photos. Time to maybe admit that the botox is doing less for your overall image than you thought.

Or not. I mean, it is highly entertaining to see signs like this everywhere. What would I do if suddenly everyone on real estate billboards started looking genuine and relaxed? That might be far more de-stabilizing than not. So forget it, actually. Carry on.

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