One thing that reminded me of the upcoming event was the presence of yard signs. I have always found these signs mystifying. All they do is tell you for which candidate the homeowner is going to vote. If I don’t know the people putting these signs out, why should I care who they’re voting for?
I suppose it could be viewed as a form of advertising. But if so, it’s not a particularly good one. Advertising is about persuasion, and I see no evidence that yard signs have ever persuaded anyone of anything. What’s more, good advertising incorporates some form of creativity or some information that can be useful to you.
The classic old Guinness ad had a refreshing, blunt honesty to it (“Guinness is good for you”). In the 1920s when the ad was launched, there was little risk of being sued for making questionable statements. Luckily, it turns out that Guinness really is good for you.
Legal standards have become stricter lately. According to the Acquis Communautaire (the body of EU law), you’re not allowed to designate a product as “No. 1” unless you can prove that it either ranks first in terms of sales, or has been awarded No. 1 status by some group of experts. I’ve run into this a couple of times, doing translations, when a company has been sued for giving out false information. Check out that bottle of Italian wine you bought recently, saying it’s “No. 1 in Italy” – somewhere on the bottle is a tiny notice stating “by sales volume.”
But yard signs just sit there, telling random passers-by which candidate you prefer. The world is better off without them, unless you take a somewhat creative approach, like the sign shown above.