One of the unfortunate side-effects of the recession is that yard sign-style advertisements are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. For $4.95 a sign, people are trying to out-shout the other guy by placing more signs in more places, resulting in a terrible community eyesore.

Amid the signs for house painters, tree trimmers and other day laborers I noticed the most ridiculous use of these signs — Jefferson Park, a waterfront development that is so upscale it recently hosted 5,000 visitors to a charity tour of homes. There are signs pointing the way to Jefferson Park on every street corner within a five mile radius of the development. I wondered, if I followed them, would it actually lead me there? I wound around town like a mouse in a maze and yes, I found it.

I spoke to the real estate representative for the community and asked her if the yard signs actually worked. “Well, they’re part of a larger branding program,” she said. “I don’t think it will sell a house, but when they see our ads in the newspaper and television and then see these signs, it helps their remembrance.”

In my humble estimation, this advertising technique demeans the brand and only creates visual pollution. Let’s find the lesson in this. Remember — everything you do and say communicates about your brand. What does this say about the Jefferson Park developers? These signs communicate: “I’m low-class and desperate.”

Is that a place YOU want to live?
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