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Advertising is All About the Product—Yeah Right!

Advertising is All About the Product—Yeah Right!


By An Anonymous Peace Activist

Most of us are well familiar with the “Yeah Right” billboard campaign that has been used to advertise Tui Beer. We can recall such slogans as “I’ve got something in my eye”, “I’d rather have a quiet one tonight”, and “I’ve been studying all summer”.

All of these are juxtaposed against the unaltered and familiar “yeah right”. The effectiveness of the campaign has been in tapping into and exploiting the typical kiwi bloke culture, and reinforcing the image (be it real or imagined) of the independent, beer-guzzling, hard-working kiwi male who values his mates over his chick, and never shows any emotion or concern for others. Generally I quite like all this, and have found the campaign (like the product) relevant and enjoyable.

Perhaps this is why some friends and I decided to help them out with their slogans, and why we selected their particular billboards as the vehicle for some anti-war campaigning. Simply by printing large white letters and fixing them to black paper, we were able to put up slogans that, at least from a distance, resembled the real thing. Last year when the US bombed a red-cross warehouse in Afghanistan the billboard was altered to read “surgical bombing”, “yeah right”.

More recently our slogans have focused on the Iraq situation and have included: “War will bring peace”, and “Let’s go Bush”. Over the last week we have hit one particular billboard a number of times on alternate nights (it happens to be the nearest one to my house). The following day at about lunch time Tui employees have been sent out to clean up our work. Also over this same week a copycat (we choose to believe we are the originals) has been hitting it on nights when we haven’t. This means that every day for a week Tui has had to clean up this one particular billboard. By last Friday they had given up, and aborted its “yeah right” slogan, and instead put a large orange cover of the billboard that simply read “Tuiversity” (presumably a comment on the priorities of students).

Filled with disappointment at Tui for denying us a public forum (which had in fact still been drawing attention to their product), and refusing to allow their product to invoke anything other than individualised stereotypes, I temporarily branched away from our anti-war campaign to tag “Yeah Right!” alongside Tuiversity—both drawing attention to the absurdity of the Tuiversity, and also drawing attention back to the fact that Tui’s advertising spaces are not so easily defended from subversion!

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For the avoidance of confusion: Scoop received the above forwarded via a third party and is unaware of the identity of the mystery Tui Billboard bandits.

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