As I traveled the highway of I35 heading south from Oklahoma City, I pondered what I would write about when I got home. My choices were attending an eye doctor appointment with my mom, shopping for a warm coat, or staying up too late watching the special election returns. None of these really interested me, so I doubted they would interest any readers. As I drove, I noticed the variety of billboards adorning the sides of the highway. It wasn’t’ so much the billboards themselves, but the variety of messages they conveyed. This reminded me of the movie, 3 Movies Outside Billings, Missouri, which I thought presented such a novel way to exercise First Amendment rights. So, here’s a little analysis of the billboards I saw and the ideas they elicited. And it’s nothing as deep as the movie.
Category 1: Basic advertisement for services-
Comfort Inn, LaQuinta Inn, Braum’s, Chick Fil A, Christie’s Toybox, Starbucks, I-Hop, Huddle, Valero, Shell, Motel 8, Love’s Country Store…you get the idea. The goal of these was pretty obvious- to let travelers know what products were available along their journey. There were not cute slogans or thoughtful phrases; it was just the product and logo.
Category 2: Oklahoma-related advertisements: These locations boast a taste of Oklahoma. Whether it’s a place to eat or grab some snacks, these are staples of the Okie state.
Winstar- World’s Biggest Casino, Lake Texoma State Park, Blackbeard Marina, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Headquarters, Step-It-Out, Justin Boot Warehouse, Cotton Patch- Join the chicken fried road trip, If it’s against beavers, we’re against it. Buckee’s
Category 3- Ads for Ads
I had never really noticed these before: the ads for the billboards. In about 20 miles, I noticed 3 different companies trying to sell 8 billboards. Bid ad, small price; AVAILABLE by Lyndmark Outdoor Media; Get some sleep, We’ll work your day job.
Category 4- More locations- Black Gold Casino, Mercy Hospital, Greater Southwest Historical Museum, Hidden Lake RV Park, Hardy Murphy Coliseum, Blackbeard Marina, Check Our Spots- the Ardmore Zoo. I wonder besides who can pay for the big billboards, how they decide what do put on the smaller signs by the side of the road that look like state signs. Is this about cost too?
Category 5- My personal favorite- the billboards that call us to action. Most I understood; a couple I wasn’t so sure about, but they all made me picture people in these situations. Specialist Michael Phillips Memorial Highway; Rethink Medicare; Stay Food Safe from foodsafety.gov; Adopt an Interchange, Michelan; In the beginning, God Created; 2 absences per month = likely to fail math from stayinschool.org; donate a boat or a car today- 1-800-carangel; Don’t wait, communicate; Quit smoking from quityoung.gov.; Domestic violence is not the traditional style.