Monday, January 12, 2009
Multicultural billboard FAIL
Here in Texas, multicultural means Hispanic. And Hispanic usually means Spanish. I'm not saying these are the right way to do things, but they tend to be the way they're done.
I'm not a huge fan of Pepsi's new campaign, and neither is Barbara Lippert of Adweek, but I almost wanted to give Pepsi some "multicultural" credit for an appropriately placed billboard en Espanol.
The billboard says ¡Delicioso! and of course the Os are the strangely revised Pepsi icon. It does double duty, because who can't figure out what delicioso means, even without knowing a lick of Spanish. However, someone made a production mistake that snuffs out half or more of the multicultural credit this billboard worked to get.
You see, I didn't even see the exclamation points until the third or fourth time I passed the billboard. Why? Because they're bleeding of the edge. Literally half to two-thirds of each exclamation point is off of edge of the board, meaning you have to strain to see a third of a white punctuation mark on a light pink billboard (that's right, it's light pink).
I'm sure you could find any surfer dude on the west coast who would know what delicioso means, but the upside-down exclamation point is something unique to Spanish (and by that, I mean we don't have it in English) and shows some genuine cultural (or at least lingual) understanding.
Yet, this crucial element was obscured by a production mistake.
I'm just not sure how a mistake like this happened. It's common practice in anything involving print production to leave "dead space" or an area around the important stuff that doesn't have anything important in it. Media channels ask you to leave this dead space because what they do doesn't always come out to an exact science and want to make sure your work isn't ruined if one of the cut measurements ends up a little off. I kind of doubt this was the production company's whoopsie. Perhaps it was the work of an inexperienced graphic artist whose work went unchecked by an over-busy creative director who didn't want to be bothered with proofing (read "ick!").
But enough speculation, the result is the same- billboard fail.