Driving to an errand yesterday, I saw perhaps the most ill-conceived billboard I've come across in a very long time. "Official bank of USC" it said.
What's so problematic about that, you ask? Well, the thing is that I live in West Los Angeles, which is the home turf of UCLA, the hated cross-town rivals of USC. If anything could get people to not patronize a business in West Los Angeles or Westwood it would be knowing that it had a connection with USC, let alone an "official" partnership.
This is somewhat akin to wandering around Boston and seeing a sign for the "official bank of New York City." Or someone thinking it's a grand idea to put in the middle of downtown Jerusalem a billboard for the "official bank of Iran." Or strolling through Heaven and coming across a billboard for the "official bank of Hell."
How idiotic an idea was that billboard? I can't even tell you what bank it was for, since after I saw "Official bank of USC," I stopped looking and drove on. They probably would have been just as successful having a billboard for their bank with just a guy holding his middle finger out at you. At least with that, some people might have thought it was the proper USC cheer.
(I remember when I was in grad school at UCLA going to a football game between the two schools. Whenever the pompous USC band would play the pompous "Roman gladiator" march, USC fans would stand and thrust their index finger upward to the sky in beat with the music. Just to be clear, yes, it was the index finger, not...well, you know. Meanwhile, on the other side of the stadium, UCLA fans would stand and mock the salute by nearly duplicating it. The only difference was that we would hold a dollar bill in our hand in rhythmic tribute.)
But then, hey, if you're going to be an official anything of USC, bank is probably the way to fly.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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