Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Inversely Proportional Advertising

The larger your company, the smaller your sign
  [vote for,

One of the many problems with the homogenization of American cities through store chains is the generally bleak, impersonal, oversized signage that goes up with each new soulless strip mall / shopping center.

I propose the Codes Department of each town put a limit on size of the largest sign allowed in that town. Next, set a scale based on the average profit margin of local businesses. The size of a store's sign will be indirectly proportional to the proportion of their relative profit. (Chain stores would have to factor in all of their stores' collective profit.)

For example, the City Cafe would be allowed to have the largest alloted sign in town, while Wal*Mart (to pick a random chain) might not even be allowed to have one, much less five.

This would help to support the local economy and culture, while simultaneously preventing overt homogenization and the choking effect of monopolies.

Schools and hospitals would be exempt.

the27man, Aug 10 2004

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       I'm all for anything that would reduce the impact of advertising on our daily lives.   

       Would the permitted size of a particular sign change year on year, or would it be related to the profit in the year leading up to the application?   

       If the former, I can see that the smallest sign would be owned by the local signage company.
egbert, Aug 11 2004

       How would preventing the largest employer from advertising effectively "support the local economy"?
angel, Aug 11 2004

       I'm pretty sure this would lead to all brands having the same size sign. (Self-correcting)
phundug, Aug 11 2004

       to "egbert": i would think that sign shops should be limited to one medium-sized sign (at best). as for the sign shop's profits, it might actually suffer since so many companies do multiple signs in the first place, they would now be limited to one a year. (i work at a sign shop. it's a conflict of moral interests, i know.)   

       to "angel": the theory is that more people would shop at locally-owned stores that re-invest in the community, as opposed to the massive chains that take their profits to their respective homes.   

       to "phundug": i think the self-correcting would be a good thing overall.   

       in an indirect way, i think this would lend people to become more locally interactive and hopefully involved. cities are just crammed full of strangers these days. without writing a thesis to explain my theory, suffice it to say that these little steps to obtain more pleasant evirnons are just a means to stronger communities. that's my hidden agenda.   

       but i could be a little off my rocker, too. i don't visit my shrink anymore.
the27man, Aug 11 2004

       <giant sign>Solar Powered Flashlights - 2 for $500!</giant sign>
Worldgineer, Aug 11 2004

       Surely you mean gross profit rather than average profit margin. Big chains like Big-W (the Australian Wal*Mart) tend to have a lower margin on items that they sell a lot of and include "loss-leaders" in their regular advertising plan. This would pull their average profit margin well below that of the regular small business who would apply a profit to all items, rather than take some hits in order to gain on others.
reap, Aug 11 2004

       Hmmm, I work for a non-profit organization...would the advertizings be huge then? Overall I like this concept+
swimr, Aug 11 2004

       How would you distinguish between a locally-owned store which does *not* re-invest in the community and a chain store which does? Or would you just *assume* that the chain store is evil? I happen to know of a small, family-owned store with no community spirit at all, while the nearby Tesco donates handsomely to local charities.
angel, Aug 12 2004

       New tourist attraction in big cities: Fifty meter high styrofoam letters in flourescent colours "HEAD JOBS $10"
ConsulFlaminicus, Aug 12 2004

       There are in fact many communities that have limits on signage, usually regarding the height of the sign, its overall size, and the use of lighting. One town near me enacted one, and the difference is quite striking as you drive through the town.   

       Your variation is interesting, but in the real world I think you'd just be inviting a ton of lawsuits over the "fairness" of the law.
krelnik, Aug 12 2004

       This sounds a lot like communism. Bad idea! (uhh...communism & this sign idea that is). There are limits to signs in cities already. They are not tied to the companies profit.   

       Making everybody equal, or helping the struggling and hurting the successful is anti-capitalism. Tax the rich, everything free for the poor. Bla bla bla.   

       Go back to the USSR. Oh wait, that didn't work, nor would your idea. (insert more mean comments here________.)
macncheesy, Aug 12 2004

       Although your concept isn't true w/ the size of advertising it is true within the media itself. I.E. companies like Nike dont have huge logos in their ads or at the end of their commercials. It's just a little swoosh. Smaller companies have to have in big letters "BOB'S SHOES!!!!!!!!".   

       The same goes for ideas. Big company shows there products are good with unique and interesting ideas. Small company is afraid people won't understand while eating tv dinners and watching a b/w TV. So the small companies ad is some guy going "Our products work great! Really! I swear!!!! Visit Tim's Tools.com NOW!!!!!"   

       I work in advertising. Sigh.
SpocksEyebrow, May 08 2005

       Actually, I've worked for them. Good people. A little old fashioned.
SpocksEyebrow, May 08 2005


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