Friday, October 26, 2007


imagine a world where some people think that something is so important that it becomes necessary to advertise desired behavior to people who they think are either behaving badly or are badly informed on how they should behave.

imagine that the people suggesting desired behavior decide that a good way to advertise this behavior is to print big, bright posters with pictures of the desired behavior that they want to see and then place those posters on city buses.

imagine that some person on the bus sees one of these posters, pulls out a pen, and decided to add their own suggestion of desired behavior to the poster. apparently the poster doesn't say enough. the person on the bus leans over the railing and scrawls, not graffiti, but additional advice for passersby to read.

imagine that that person decided that if you're going to suggest desired behavior, you might do well to target everyone that behavior affects.

imagine that a blogger with a camera phone happens upon this very bus one rainy morning, and notices the brightly colored poster, with pictures of desired behavior, an admonishment from the advertiser, and somebody's editorial addition written in pen. the blogger chuckles, looks around wondering if the others on the bus will think her crazy, and then resigns herself to the fact that she probably is anyway.

imagine she fumbles with the camera, taking video after video but failing to take a snapshot. her stop is coming up, quickly. she might miss her opportunity to capture what could be accidental art! finally, the right method dawns upon the technologically remedial blogger. she snaps two pictures hastily, and walks off the bus into the rainy morning, armed with a visible memory of what made her chuckle... and what made her think... about social advertising, assumptions people make, and the utility of graffiti.

the poster reads: "Think you're pregnant? Get prenatal care as soon as you think you're pregnant - and keep all your prenatal appointments. Give Your Baby a Healthy Start." what's missing are the several pictures of smiling black and latino couples with babies. go prenatal care!

the scribbles read: "If you are man enough to get her pregnant, be man [sic] to Raise your child."