I have been sitting on this idea since the very first set of posts. This idea is listed on the first list I ever made for this class, and the thought of using it has come back to me periodically as the semester has progressed and more posts had to be made. Well, it wasn’t until this this directive (convergence) that I figured out how exactly to portray it.
Now, you may be thinking “Joey, that does not look like it took you 45 minutes to do,” and you would be right. It didn’t take me long to draw, and I do not remember how long it took me to come up with the idea at the start of the course. It’s third on the list, so I’m assuming not long. Ah, nothing quite like throwing yourself under the bus. BUT to make up for this, I have written a short narrative that will help aid you in understanding the message behind the billboard. Here it is:
Joey was blasting Britney Spears as his mom drove steadily down the highway. They were directly behind his father, who was carrying Joey’s brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, along with some luggage. The rest of the bags and supplies for the trip were stuffed in his mom’s car.
“‘Oops, I did it again!’” Joey sang along to one of his favorite Ms. Spears track.
His mom sang along too. She and her son had always shared an interest in the same music, and that provided a bond between the two that hadn’t been there between Joey and his dad. Joey stared out the window at the unfamiliar terrain of a place he hadn’t seen in a long time. His family was heading towards the Outer Banks, and he hadn’t been there in God knows how long. Perhaps a couple of years, but it had probably been longer than that. This was the first time they were going back to spend more than just a day. This time they were spending an entire week! YAY!
While looking out the window, Joey read billboards to himself. He could tell they were getting closer to the beach, because a lot of the signs had advertisements for beach gear and restaurants with beach themed names. One, however, caught his eye. It was for VW, or Volkswagen if that’s how you prefer to say it. He found it odd they would advertise near a beach, but he figured it was because of the amount of traffic that rolled along the highway going towards the beach. It was a simple sign; just black type over a white background, nothing too fancy, but enough to grab your attention because of its simple-ness. All it said was “Don’t jump on any old band wagon.”
Joey liked the saying. Especially since the word “wagon” was used in the sentence, and the ad was for Volkswagen. He felt conflicted though over how simple it was, but then he reminded himself that you don’t have to blow something up to get a message across (hope you understand that someday terrorists and Michael Bay). Plus, he rather enjoyed its meaning; don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. That reminded him of when he use to ask his mom if he could do so-and-so, and she would say no, and he’d say that so-and-so gets to do it. Then his mom fired back, “If so-an-so jumped of a bridge, would you do it?” Eventually the answer to that question became a question, “Do I have a bungee cord?” Then he’d get in trouble.
To Joey, the sign was telling him to be his own person. He thought how it was a weird thing for a car company to say, but then remembered the Beetle. That car was its own person, and it needed no one’s approval. Perhaps the billboard wasn’t only for the random motorists who happened to drive past it, but also for the company itself, and other companies. Companies have to stand out, and support a message their customers support and believe. Then they present that message through an ad, like this billboard.
“You’re all right with me, VW,” Joey thought as his mom continued to trail his father. Then he went back to singing, “‘One, two, three, Peter, Paul, and Mary…’”
You could be wondering where the convergence is in all of this, and the answer is it isn’t here. The message of the billboard and the story is to be your own person, be a divergent. That’s the enduring value of this idea. I think that’s what VW is all about, being yourself. The innovative design here is telling someone something they may need to hear. Sometimes the smallest gesture or phrase can turn someone’s life around and make things better for them. But offering a smile or kind words is something people fear doing these days, so some companies can do it, and hopefully that would convince people that they should do it too. The motoring pleasure here is the listening to Britney Spears and having a good time on the drive to the beach.
The story idea actually came from the activity that we did in class on Tuesday (December 2, 2014), where we had to talk to someone we hadn’t talked to before about a pleasant driving experience they had. Well, I did not do this (sorry). I actually got caught up in a conversation with my friends about what classes we are taking in the spring (excuses). Since that is the case, I took a pleasure driving experience that I had this past summer (driving to the beach with my mom) and added the billboard I designed to get across its messages (the sign was NOT something I saw while on vacation, it is my idea, just to be absolutely clear).