The Awkward Billboard
like most insurance companies, was a conservative business who stayed within the boundaries of portraying an appropriate buttoned down image. We approached them to give us an opportunity to try Outdoor Advertising. Sharing a few pieces of spec art, ‘the tree’ won approval and a contract. Keeping phone number and address off the design was a battle. The simple design was also simple in execution. Avoiding the prop companies to produce an embellishment, a large production expense would have killed the idea, we secured permission to remove a 40 foot tree from a local land owner with plenty of timber on his property. The tree was free for the cutting. A simple (hand) paint. Dropping the tree on top with the crane. Securing it to the cross angle iron in back with cable. Bending and banging up a few metal sections. The image was complete. ‘For Life’s Awkward Moments’
At 4PM, I could hear the installation crew parking the boom truck in back, completing their day. Before I could speak to our foreman, our office phones started ringing. Lines 1 and 3 were calling about ‘the tree.’ The Hawk Agency was on-line 2. Oh boy, I thought, what’s wrong. Taking line 2, the voice on the other end was anxious with delight. “Our phones are ring off the hook! People are calling to tell us a tree had fallen on our sign! We love it!” As soon that call ended, more calls were coming in, all with the same message. “Do you know a tree feel on your billboard!” Ironically, there wasn’t a tree within 500 feet. Never was. But people believed their eyes.