Entries in Billboards (4)


McDonald’s Mangles Attempt to Reach Ethnic Community in Minnesota

Keller Grayson Communications(ST. PAUL, Minnesota) -- McDonald’s likes to boast that “Nothing can do it like McDonald’s,” but that sentiment apparently failed to get through to the fast-food giant’s ad agency, which reportedly botched a billboard aimed at an Asian community in Minnesota.

The billboard is posted in an area of St. Paul, Minn., populated by members of the Hmong community, an Asian ethnic group originally from the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia.

The billboard is supposed to translate as: “Coffee gets you up, breakfast gets you going.”

Members of the local community say, however, that the sign’s Hmong “Yuavtxhawbpabraukojsawv yuavntxivzograukoj mus” wording is not how they speak.

“It sounds weird in Hmong because we don’t really talk like that,” Bruce Thao, 28, a St. Paul resident and doctoral candidate in social work, told the Pioneer Press newspaper.  “Either way, there should definitely be spaces in between those words.”

The ad also features a coffee cup with the Hmong words for “$1, large or small,” a local promo by McDonald’s to sell all drinks for $1.  Despite the bargain, the locals remain unimpressed by the targeted pitch.

“The text is also wrong, missing key breaks in the language,” Thai Lee, a local doctor, told the paper.  “As it stands right now, it doesn’t make sense at all.”

The Twin Cities of St. Paul and neighboring Minneapolis are home to the largest concentration of Hmong people in the United States, with more 64,000 residents, according to the Hmong American Partnership.

The Partnership, a Twin Cities-based social service and community development organization for the Hmong community, has not responded to a request for comment.

The billboard is the first time the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company has advertised in the Hmong language, a representative for Arnold Advertising, the global advertising firm that worked on the ad with McDonald’s, told the Pioneer Press.  Last week, the firm posted another McDonald’s Hmong-language ad on the other side of the city.

The fast-food giant has not commented on the controversy.  Both McDonald’s and Arnold Advertising did not return requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Husband Surprises Wife with Billboard to Help Her Job Search

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SYLVAN, Ohio) -- There’s love and then there’s this kind of love.

It involves buying space on two giant billboards in two of the busiest intersections in town and putting your wife’s picture on them, listing all the reasons why an employer should hire her.

Such true love, deep-down devotion and, more than anything, shock-and-awe strategy led Holly Stuard of Sylvan, Ohio, to discover, to her surprise, a billboard with her picture reading “Please Hire My Wife,” in giant, bold, black letters.

“I was definitely shocked,” Stuard, 36, told ABC News of the moment Monday night when her husband, Brandon, 38, pointed out his handiwork to her.

“He made plans that we’d go out to dinner at one of our Mexican restaurants on the other side of town so that we’d pass the billboard on our way,” she said.  “Our older son saw it before I did and said, ‘Momma that picture looks like you.’”

Brandon Stuard, a deputy sheriff in a Toledo suburb where the couple lives with his 15-year-old daughter and their two sons, ages four and two, decided to purchase the billboard space after he saw his wife deal with the ups and downs of an unfruitful job search for the past year.

“I was just trying to help and put her face and a small portion of her resume around the city in hopes that something would come along,” Brandon told ABC News Thursday from his cellphone as he passed one of the billboards in the car on his way home from work.  "I’m almost probably as shocked about all this attention we’re getting about it as she was to see it.”

Holly’s position as a program manager for the MBA program at the University of Toledo, from which she graduated with both an MBA and a degree in psychology, was eliminated in July 2011 due to budget cuts. Since then she has gone on countless interviews, seeking a corporate job in training and development.

“It’s been such a long timeframe and there’s so many ups and downs with a job search, and I think he’s felt a little helpless,” she said of her husband of eight years. “He felt this was a way he could actually do something because it’s been a difficult process.”

Brandon, whom Holly said is known for surprises, also knows his wife well enough to not tell her in advance.  He worked with two different billboard companies to purchase space on the two electronic billboards, one near a mall and one in downtown Toledo.

The billboards feature a giant photo of Holly, which Brandon said was a “last-minute decision” to include, along with her credentials, which include business experience, academic experience and her MBA.

“My husband knew that I would say, ‘There’s no way you’re putting my picture up on a billboard,’” she said.  “It’s definitely outside of my comfort zone but I hope that it will lead to a good opportunity.”

Most importantly the billboards, which cost Brandon around $700, feature an easy to remember email address: HIREMYWIFE@YAHOO.COM.

So far the billboard has brought more attention for the couple than concrete job offers.  Emails from well wishers who have suffered through similarly frustrating job searches have poured in.  Friends have shared the story on Facebook and the couple was featured in a story on the local evening news.

Still, Holly is hopeful and appreciative of the boost from her husband.

“It’s definitely given my job search new energ … ,” she said.  “It’s been really exciting.  I’ve heard from a lot of people who are trying to connect me with companies that are hiring and there’s just a really good vibe out there.”

The two billboard ads will stay up a few days past the one week’s time that Brandon purchased, thanks to the generosity of vendors similarly impressed by his efforts.

“Obviously with me not working it was a big investment and a big consideration financially to do it,” Holly said.  “He [Brandon] said both of the companies were really great working with him and giving him a price break and keeping it up for a few extra days.”

One thing the vendors can’t help Brandon with is planning ahead for Christmas, Valentine’s Day or the couple’s anniversary, now that the bar has been set so high.

“This will be tough to top as far as surprises go,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Get Your Mortgage Paid for by Turning Your House into a Billboard

Brainiacs From Mars(BUENA PARK, Calif.) -- Need help paying your mortgage? If so, the marketing firm Brainiacs From Mars has a proposition for you.

“We’re looking for homes to turn into billboards. In exchange, we’ll pay your mortgage every month for as long as your house remains painted,” the firm’s website reads.

The transformation from a more traditional color to broccoli green and sunrise orange definitely draws attention, and that’s exactly the point. Brainiacs From Mars is using the homes as a way to advertise its ingenuity.

“This is our business card and it works a lot better than that,” Brainiacs From Mars CEO Romeo Mendoza told ABC News. “It’s telling people we are an out-of-the-box, high-impact firm....The average person gets bombarded with 35,000 ads a week, so it’s hard to really stand out.”

The firm has only painted one house and says its goal is to paint 100 homes by the end of the year. It will have a lot of options to choose from after receiving more than 38,000 applications.

Click here to submit an application for your house.

“It’s definitely a two-way street,” Mendoza said. “We are able to help the homeowners and the homeowners are able to help us.”

According to Mendoza, the houses will be chosen based on “what feels right,” and while there are a lot of factors, he stresses the one thing that does not matter is location.

“It’s based on everything but location. The location makes absolutely no difference to us,” he said. “This home gets attention and does its job no matter where it is. And because it does that we are able to paint anywhere.”

The campaign has already surpassed the company’s wildest expectations. Because of the publicity from the one home already painted, in Buena Park, Calif., Brainiacs From Mars said it has landed new contracts and more than doubled its original staff of 12.

“It’s done tremendous things for us,” Mendoza said. “Ultimately, we’d like to do as many [homes] as possible. It’s effective for us to reach more clients and help homeowners at the same time.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Inspired By ‘Minority Report,’ Billboards Recognize Faces

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In the futuristic movie Minority Report from 2002, Tom Cruise runs through a mall as the advertisements around him change to tailor exactly to his tastes, encouraging him to stop for his favorite beer as he runs from the Big Brother-like voice that knows everything about him.

On Tuesday, Immersive Labs announced that the future is, in fact, now. The startup tech company will roll out its first camera-enhanced “smart signs” this fall, equipping billboards and retail signage with the ability to tailor advertisements to the person looking at them at any given moment.

The company will install tiny cameras into already-existing digital signs in busy places, including airports, malls and retail stores, and will be able to quickly compute what type of consumer is looking back: male or female, young or old, a sports fan or a pet owner.

The makers of the new technology maintain that the artificial intelligence it uses is not as invasive as the eerily similar advertising featured in Minority Report.

Jason Sosa, founder and CEO of Immersive Labs, said the camera won’t record anyone’s face or preferences, it will merely identify a viewer as fitting into certain consumer categories.

“The system will be looking at a face to determine certain characteristics to apply a numerical value to,” Sosa said. “So all we’re looking for is, ‘Is there a face present? Is it male or female? What age is it?’ No images are saved or recorded or transmitted.”

The formula will take in other factors, including location, time of day, and even tweets that mention the area, to choose which ad in a particular inventory it will show on the screen at that time, he said.

“If a basketball game is letting out at Madison Square Garden, and we have a sign there with both Nike and Office Max ads in the inventory, we can choose to use Nike because it makes more sense. If a lot of people are tweeting about taking their dog for a walk in a particular area, maybe we’ll put a Petco ad in that neighborhood. ”

The company plans to roll out the first AI-enhanced “smart signs” in Los Angeles and New York this fall, Sosa said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio