Monday, April 23, 2007

One way traffic

"Turn the other cheek", said the Lord, "if someone were to smite you on one".

But no matter how committed a practising Christian you are, it's one piece of advice you're going to find very hard to follow, if you are an advertiser on those stretches of Chennai which have recently been deemed a one-way. It's left your billboards facing the direction of traffic and making a point behind people's backs. A unique glitch, which calls for a unique fix. So you call the grey cells at the agency, who then get together to come up with what's affectionately called a media innovation.
(Just an ounce from their pound of jargon for which you can hardly penalise them. It does take a great deal of innovation to get Mr.Client to cough up a little more than the 0.0000001% he's paying the agency.)

Now back to the problem. Oh, but that really is the problem. People now have their backs to it. So let's confront it then. Giddyup...

Option 1
Say we put a large mirror exactly opposite the billboard which is looking the wrong way. Yes, that means you repaint the billboard laterally inverted. It has to be done. You can't let a few extra bucks come in the way of creativity.

But you know Murphy's views on things that go wrong. What if, two weeks down, the city's traffic controllers decided they'd got the one-way pointing in the wrong direction, and decided to do an about turn? Leaving the mirror useless, and motorists riding straight into laterally inverted messages?

"! PLEH"

Option 2
An amplifier and speaker on the billboard, programmed to shout out a few words every 5 seconds. How about "Psssssssssssssssssst...pssssssssssssst.... blue Kinetic. Look here." (Silence) Then in our very own superstar's voice, "Naan oru vaati sonna, nooru vaati sonna madhiri".

Not a bad idea, huh? More cost effective too. Unless you count the possibility of being sued by motorists who turn to the voice and off the road into a hospital bed. Not to worry. That only happens in America.

Option 3
It's not very creative, so you can have it for free. Take down those billboards. Save the money. And make your first contribution to making Chennai a lot easier on the eye. I wonder how many agencies would put their money on this one.

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