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Vehicles as message vehicles

How the family car acts as a communications vehicle all over Long Island.

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It might not be hieroglyphics from 3000 BC or cave paintings of Lascaux, (according to web reports are the equivalent of 16,000-year old advertising), but those stick figure family decals that decorate the back windshields of too many mini-vans has captured the imagination of my teenager and I as we ride along the roads of Long Island.

I usually limit my viewpoint to marketing and media issues here, but it’s hard to deny that this form of communications have allowed anyone and everyone to deliver a message - - almost providing an inside view of the contents inside the SUV.

Over the course of a few months, we have seen quite a few examples – kids depicted as sports stars, moms designated as shoppers, dads as golfers and gofers.  There are family pets, budding ballerinas, and hundreds of choices – even family with Mickey Mouse ears.

But the reason we find them so amusing is that they really could say so much more, if only we didn’t display them based on a preexisting design. Like the most memorable advertising campaign, it’s a creative approach that freshens a basic idea and makes it truly unique.

To that end, I recommend the following:

For a family that has diverse interests (or may be sadly experiencing divorce) place the stick figures at the four corners of the window.

For a family with members that are crazy about what they do (or represent/enjoy) place them upside down or head over heels.

For an equal opportunity family with no gender stereotyping, show the mom by the BBQ and the dad gardening.

For a vision of the family future: show the anticipation of your boy (or girl)’s growth range – you can get up to four stickers to depict baby, younger, average or older child.

And if all else fails – show professionalism,  volunteerism or idealism:

  • If a coach --depict every athlete on your entire team.
  • For a vet – show all the animals (characterized as pets). < >For a carpool of impressionable pop culture fanatics, show a crowd of stick people as a friendly mob.It need not be the same old thing any longer. Just a little imagination can change the communication's vision in an instant -- even at 55 MPH.