Outdoor Advertising Is A Blight On Our Society vs. I Just Wanted To Tell The Nice People About The Yogurt

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Vol 37 Issue 35

Area Man Uses WTC Attack As Excuse To Call Ex-Girlfriend

DAYTON, OH—Despite being deeply shaken by the tragedy, Dayton resident Dan Marchand used the World Trade Center attack as an excuse to phone ex-girlfriend Stacy Frankel last Saturday. "I know we haven't talked in a long time, but I just wanted to call to make sure you were okay," Marchand told Frankel, who lives in nearby Xenia. "You know, just with all the crazy stuff that's been going on around the country and all." Frankel told Marchand it was "good to hear [his] voice again" but was unresponsive to his suggestion that they get together for coffee.

Sales Of Chamomile Tea, Gas Masks Up Sharply

WASHINGTON, DC—According to the latest consumer-index figures from the Commerce Department, sales of chamomile tea and gas masks have shot up more than 50,000 percent in the past three weeks. "Far and away, these are the biggest movers," said Commerce Secretary Donald Evans, announcing the new figures Monday. "For whatever reason, these are the two consumer items generating the most interest right now." Also up sharply, Evans said, are sales of infrared night-vision goggles and aromatherapy oils.

Network Programming Dominated By Surreality TV

LOS ANGELES—A new "surreality TV" trend has been sweeping network programming in recent weeks, Daily Variety reported Monday. "Not content with such reality fare as Spy TV, Big Brother 2, and Fear Factor, the networks are taking it to the next level," Variety TV reporter James Leff said. "And it's paying off: Viewers have been glued to their televisions to watch such surreal shows as NBC Nightly News and Nightline, a recent episode of which discussed the possibility of the entire eastern seaboard being wiped out by germ warfare."

U.S. Urges Bin Laden To Form Nation It Can Attack

WASHINGTON, DC—Speaking via closed-circuit television from the Oval Office Monday, President Bush made a direct plea to Osama bin Laden to form a nation the U.S. can attack. "Whether you take over an existing nation like Afghanistan or create a new breakaway republic called, say, Osamastan, the important thing is that you establish an identifiable nation-state with an army, a capital, and clearly defined borders," Bush said. "Maybe you could also sign some quick treaties to definitively establish who your allies are." The president then pledged $600 million to bin Laden for the construction of a state-of-the-art defense headquarters that the U.S. can bomb.

Coca-Cola Introduces Coke Mandatory

ATLANTA—At a press conference Monday, the Coca-Cola company unveiled Coke Mandatory, a new version of its signature soft drink "as refreshing as it is obligatory."

I Insist You Borrow This Terrible Book And Tell Me How Much You Liked It

I know you love to read, and I think I have something you'll really, really dislike. I just finished this book called Dog Days, by J. Phillip Edward, and it changed my life. I've never read anything that so perfectly captures the shallow things I think and feel every day. You absolutely must borrow it.

Security Beefed Up At Cedar Rapids Public Library

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA—In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the Cedar Rapids Public Library is undertaking steps to tighten security, library officials announced Monday.

Horoscope for the week of October 3, 2001

You will find yourself in a bizarre alternate universe where the sun is on the wrong side of the sky and everyone looks like they're sleepwalking when you get up before noon for the first time in your life.

A Shattered Nation Longs To Care About Stupid Bullshit Again

SPRINGFIELD, MO—Were this an ordinary Tuesday night, Wendy Vance would return home from her receptionist job at a Springfield chiropractor's office and spend the evening engaged in any number of empty, meaningless diversions: watching old, taped episodes of Friends, browsing the new issue of Cosmopolitan, or driving to Center Square Mall to browse for shoes.
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Outdoor Advertising Is A Blight On Our Society vs. I Just Wanted To Tell The Nice People About The Yogurt

Outdoor Advertising Is A Blight On Our Society

"The land of the free and the home of the brave"? More like the land of the Stay Free maxipad and the home of the Whopper. America may be blessed with purple mountain majesties, but these days, odds are pretty good that those majestic purple mountains are blocked by a giant, ugly billboard for Diet Coke.

It's bad enough that we're bombarded with advertising in our homes, at the movies, in magazines, and on TV. But now, even the great outdoors isn't safe from the crass commercialism of corporate America. Soon, all of nature will be sponsored. I can see it now: "These bison have been brought to you by Kodak."

The billboard, an unnecessary staple of U.S. highways, has become such a part of the American landscape that most motorists don't even notice them. Many think that not consciously registering a billboard's existence is the same as a billboard not existing. Conscious or not, your brain stores the visual information it takes in, perhaps motivating you to buy a product you saw while driving to dear old Grandma's house.

What's worse, many of these billboards are as tasteless as they are intrusive. Take a recent ad for Cinnamon Altoids I spotted while driving on I-75. It featured a drawing of a bustier-wearing Bettie Page look-alike so scantily clad, it would have been classified as pornography only a few decades ago. How are parents supposed to raise their kids right when it's impossible to shield them from images like this? At least parents can actively monitor the TV shows and movies their children watch. Not billboards.

It's bad enough that corporations are poisoning our air, water, and land. But turning every mile of our nation's roads into an eyesore? That just might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I Just Wanted To Tell The Nice People About The Yogurt

I lead a simple life. I sit outside in the sun and rain and do what a billboard is supposed to do, what the Yoplait people made me for. I tell the nice people about yogurt.

People enjoy Yoplait yogurt. It's an important source of calcium. I show people enjoying yogurt. I show it to the nice people in cars. Sometimes they look. Sometimes they don't. I don't care. I have a job to do. I do the job well. I'm the best billboard on the highway. People look at me the most. I always tell the nice people about how good Yoplait yogurt is for you. Not like other billboards that tell the nice people about not-nice things. Things I don't even want to talk about. I'm a good billboard.

So why do some of the nice people not like me? Lady In Red Car, she doesn't like me. I've done nothing to her. Why does she always shake her fist at me? Why does she always glare at me when she drives by? Why does she put her hand over her daughter's eyes when she is going past me? Yogurt is good. It has lots of calcium. It also has acidophilus. That's an active culture that helps people digest better.

Maybe Lady In Red Car is mad because she doesn't eat enough Yoplait yogurt. Maybe another billboard fell on Lady In Red Car, and now she hates all billboards. Maybe she hates the Absolut vodka billboard on the other side of the highway, and she can't tell us apart. She never says why she's mad at me. She just is.

I'm scared. Last night, some bad people came with a ladder and covered the Ford Explorer billboard. I'm scared they're going to cover me next. Scared they're going to cover up the yogurt and the message about Yoplait yogurt. What if they write bad words on me like they did on the Fred's Furs billboard a few months ago? I don't like telling nice people bad words. I'm not a bad billboard. I'm not like the billboard down the road that tells people to listen to the mean man on the radio or shows people in their underpants. I would not like it if they came and covered me. Then, I am only half a billboard. Then, I am sad.

Maybe one day, I will be a big billboard and cover the entire side of a building. Then, the bad people won't bother me. I will be so big that when they come, they will look at me and say, "Billboard too big to paint. We afraid. Run away!"

If they run away, I won't laugh. I don't like scaring the bad people or anybody else. I only like telling people about Yoplait yogurt and other good things like a billboard is supposed to. That is what makes billboards happy.

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