Tag Archives: billboards

Road Kill: Drive-By Mortuary Advertising

Another billboard story coming from Los Angeles. In a year-long campaign Glendale, Cali. funeral parlor Forest Lawn has put up 80 billboards across the county. Says the LA Business Journal:

The campaign features three separate characters–a Latino man, an elderly woman and an old hippie-juxtaposed against inappropriate epitaphs. For example, the bearded hippie is misidentiffed as having “Served under Reagan.” Then comes the punch line: “Don’t have someone else’s funeral.”

William Martin, spokesman for Forest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuaries, said the non-profit is trying to get people to think creatively about their funeral.

“A hippie’s funeral should be different than one for the thtee-piece-suit [sic.] Reagan guy,” Martin said.

When my friend in LA sent me a photo of the above billboard that she passes on her commute to work I initially figured it was political commentary. Commentary on what, I wasn’t so sure. Then I noticed the Forest Lawn name in the upper right corner — and I was hardly less baffled. I’d love to see the others.  What’s the opposite of a Latino? And an elderly woman? What’s the ironic/inappropriate epitaph for her — “Taken too soon”? I’m totally for shaking it up and introducing a little levity to a heavy and taboo subject, but I can’t imagine how Forest Lawn pulled it off.

If any of you out there in the LA area have seen the other two ads, the Unhappy Mediator would love to hear what they say. You’ve got til August to find ’em.

[Thanks – again – Hilla]

Un-Advertising: Your Commute, Now With Social Commentary

If you’re an LA commuter running out of things to say to the people in your car pool, try planning your route to work past the sites of the 21 soaring pieces of art in the MAK Center’s city-wide exhibition How Many Billboards? Art in Stead. (There’s an updated map of locations on the site.) Up through March, the project’s central idea is that, in the words of the director, Kimberli Meyer,

art should occupy a visible position in the cacophony of mediated images in the city, and it should do so without merely adding to the visual noise. How Many Billboards? Art In Stead proposes that art periodically displace advertisement in the urban environment.

Billboards are a dominant feature of the landscape in Los Angeles. Thousands line the city’s thoroughfares, delivering high-end commercial messages to a repeat audience. Given outdoor advertising’s strong presence in public space, it seems reasonable and exciting to set up the possibility for art to be present in this field. The sudden existence of artistic speech mixed in with commercial speech provides a refreshing change of pace. Commercial messaging tells you to buy; artistic messaging encourages you to look and to think.

Think of good, for example:

Or how big a snowball a person can fit in his mouth:

[Via UrbanDaddy. Thanks, Hilla]