Running along Main St. the other day I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw the new bulletin board posted above Main Street Liquor Store. Usually, these ads are for AnnArbor.com and/or local restaurants; they create a nice community space for local happenings. Not this one. Affixed with a photo of a blonde, pony-tailed 20-some year old woman with glasses and a goofy smile were the words “Before REACHEMOL, I only had one stalker!”
At first, I was confused. Then shocked, appalled, disgusted, pissed, outraged, and clenching my fists. I’m wondering if anybody else saw these ads, and, if so, what are your reactions?
I found a news article about the same bulletin board in a different location (http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110315/NEWS/103150321/-1/rss01) and saw in the comments that people have mixed reactions. The advertisement is a campaign for a fake drug, REACHEMOL, which cures social awkwardness. The point of the campaign is to attract business owners and demonstrate to them that this company has attractive and fun ways of advertising. Some said the board did in fact attract their attention, that they like it, and that people are overly sensitive or have no sense of humor. Others had reactions more like mine where they were both confused and upset that a business would advertise making light of stalking. My feelings are directed both at the advertisers but also at the city of Ann Arbor for putting this billboard up in the first place.
I also found what I believe to be the website of the business behind the ads (http://www.thehangline.com/creative-examples/reachemol-billboards-claim-to-make-you-famous/). Some people commented on the stalker advertisement at the bottom, including myself (madweis825).
The third time I passed by the billboard, I saw that “stalker” has been changed to “groupie.” I’m relieved, though I still think the whole idea behind the advertising is weird. In the end, though, I’m appreciative that at least one business is listening to its consumers. I’m also outraged that a conscious society is something of which I have to be appreciative. With all of the things businesses and our fucked up legislators are getting away with for businesses, I feel as if a glimmer of humanity and agency live on.