Wednesday, March 2, 2011
About three evenings a week, I head home from work via 8th Avenue, one of the grittier avenues in the city where glitter has yet to completely replace "gritter." 8th Avenue, being just off Times' Square, used to be the epicenter of New York's porn industry and despite the puritanical ministrations of Guiliani and his thugs, it's still home to private viewing booths and places where you can buy edible panties in a variety of delectable flavors.
Thanks to an antique looking, Hopperesque (Edward, not Dennis) looking neon sign, there's a bar I notice on my way home called, "Smith's Bar Restaurant." The sign includes 20 characters in all and in my entire life I've never seen all 20 illuminated all at once. Often it's "t's ba rant," once it even read "Smith's B r a."
Somehow looking at this sign in all its variety makes me think of advertising. How nice it is, sometimes, to let viewers fill in the blanks and how incomplete information is sometimes more enticing than the whole kit and kaboodle. That's the positive side of the sign. The negative may be even more prevailing.
It reminds me of how sloppy and careless marketers (and agencies) are about their brands. How a piss-stained ATM does more to hurt a bank's image than a million dollar spot does to help it. How work that's badly conceived, badly written and badly produced often gets out because it's politically expedient.
By the way, I've never been to Smith's. But I might go this afternoon for lunch.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 8:29 AM