Unlawful idea

I have an advertising idea but I don’t know if it’s legal. So I’m looking for someone with expertise to let me know about whether this is an idea I could pull off without huge fines.

So here’s the idea: Being an election year, there are about two dozen political signs on every street corner. My simple idea is to throw some other signs into the mix for myself or my clients. Imagine driving down the road and seeing the Bush-Cheney signs and the Kerry-Edwards signs and also seeing one for Taco Bell or Apple Computer? Wouldn’t that be awesome? The sign could be made in the exact same way as the other signs and wouldn’t be flashy. It’d look like a political sign but it wouldn’t be.

I think the best part of the deal would be the buzz you’d create. You’d probably get in all the newspapers and trade journals for a brilliant ad campaign. People would start to notice. So anyone? Why hasn’t this been done? Would the fines be that bad?

This reminds me of the 1984 Michael Jordan incident:.

“His shoes cost him a fine every single game due to being ‘too colorful’ and ‘non-conforming to his team colors’. His sneaker commercial had a big X on the shoe with the word BANNED.” (Source: Timeline of Basketball Shoes History)

Nike paid the fine every game and it created a huge amount of buzz.

4 responses to “Unlawful idea”

  1. Interesting idea. I’d be willing to bet that the cost of the fines would be outweighed by the exposure generated from all the publicity from the press, etc. E.g….”you can’t pay for that kind of exposure” mentality. This however opens the door for the possibility of “sign camoflouge” of all sorts. We could create signs that look EXACTLY like road signs on the highways and “blend” them in. Or, you caould have the equivilent of a “no parking” sign for say taco bell in front of competing fast food locations like McDonalds…they could read “no eating here from the hours of 9am-10pm”…or something 😉

    …just some “food” for thought…


  2. Hey Jeff, yeah, interesting idea about other sign ideas. I personally wouldn’t go as far as to create an “ad” that looks like a road sign just because I just know there’d be backlash from confused drivers.

    But I’m sure somebody’s tried it. Or will. Either way, it’s probably too-late to make an impact with this idea. The election is a week away.

  3. One thing that might be a monkey wrench in your plans is how much attention is actually paid to political signs. After awhile, they all seem to blend together and an ad for Tornado Design (or whoever) that looks like a political sign would probably get lost in the crowd.

    I have noticed a sign for mattresses that looks like it was written with a Sharpie at many freeway exits. I noticed it at first because it was made just like a professional sign (same material) and I thought it would be prohibitive for just selling a mattress. Then I noticed that these signs were all over the city and that the writing was identical in each instance. Obviously, some local mattress dealer realized a guerrilla marketing opportunity and printed those up.

    The beautiful part is that the people who would take them down probably look at them as singular instances from individuals and leave them up.

  4. Bill, I think you’re right. That’s probably one more reason why a big company with an established brand (Taco Bell, Coca Cola, Qwest, etc.) would most benefit. Nobody would recognize my company.

    Good ideas. Thanks!

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