I have a fairly substantial commute to work. About 45 minutes and 40 miles one way. So, I get a lot of time to think, talk to myself, listen to music, audiobooks and talk radio. I also see a lot of drivers and driving habits.
One thing is for sure: I see a ton of billboards.
Since I work as a marketing copywriter, it's fun to critique the billboards. I think of how I would have written them differently or better; how a message could have been more powerful or concise with a change or deletion here or there. I start to notice the trends in design and layout--both the professional, and the ones on shoestring budgets. I start to think of myself as a bit of an expert:
"What were they thinking!? That would make a great print ad, but it's an awful billboard."
"Great. Yet another pointless use of stock photography."
"I can tell the owner wrote that billboard. What a turd."
As you move from Salt Lake County (i.e. Salt Lake City) to Utah County (i.e. Provo), you start to see nuance changes in the types of billboards. There are more billboards from start-up and entrepreneurial companies. Also, more billboards targeted at Mormons trying to hawk LDS stuff. Those always feel a little exploitative to me. Nothing like using religion to sell your swag.
Anyway, with that in mind, this new billboard from Sprite gives me a chuckle:
It reads "A TOMAHAWK to the TEMPLE."
It's a billboard for Sprite. It features LeBron James dunking a basketball. For the non-hoops folks out there, this type of dunk is called a "tomahawk jam." Not sure why, maybe it's the swinging motion of the arm like swinging a tomahawk, maybe it's the straightened arm holding the ball that resembles the shape of a tomahawk. I don't know. Also, the reference to "temple" is simply the reference to the body.
Well, I was in "Mormon billboard" mode when I read this. Again, for the uninitiated, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (i.e. Mormons) are plentiful in Utah. I'm one myself. In addition to our churches which are everywhere, we also have temples--they're important in LDS culture.
Still, I'm sure there are non-basketball-fan Mormons who are thoroughly confused by what Sprite is trying to tell them to do. So if you see tomahawks thrust into temple doors, you'll know that advertising works!