This is why people hate yuppies.
Six weeks ago, the RPA advertising agency of Santa Monica, on behalf of the Honda Motor Company of Japan, thought it would be “groovy” if they could throw videos up on the web of a real, actual stretch of road playing a song when a Honda Civic drove over it.
A Day At An Ad Agency
Isn’t that the most fabulous idea, uh…Topher? Jago? Julian? Allegra? Apparently Topher, Jago, Julian and Allegra all agreed. “Hey, we know! Let’s call it “experiential marketing!”
Subsequently, RPA and Honda, had a set of grooves of different heights cut in Avenue K in the high desert town of Lancaster in far northern Los Angeles County. The ad campaign was called, “Honda Civic: A ‘Groovy” Kind of Car.”
How does that sound?
Long ago, the post-modern icon John Barth wrote that “there are things worth doing and things worth remarking.” And the groovy road, unless you are the kind of yuppie dog who works for an ad agency, self-evidently qualifies as one of those “creative” things that it is perfectly fine to “brainstorm” about as long as you don’t actually go out into some desert town and do it.
Reviews Are In
The web site Autopia called it the “Most Annoying Promotion Ever.” Honda, of course, or one of their barking yuppie dogs, renamed the quarter mile stretch of black top “Civic Musical Road” because when you drove or rode over it it played the best known bars of The William Tell Overture by Gioachino Rossini. You know that song. It is the theme from the 1950s television series The Lone Ranger.
One little barking dog yapped that the song sounded best when the road was run over by a “brand new” Honda Civic going “exactly” 55-miles-an-hour. Next thing you know, one of these insufferably precious little parasites is going to proclaim that this is why all them guys died in Vietnam.
And, for the record, it does make a sound when you ride over it on a motorcycle. Doesn’t sound like Rossini though. On a motorcycle it sounds more like a banshee.
It Is Annoying
After 18 days of this, local residents were finally able to convince their local government to please, for God’s sake, make this terrible noise stop! “When you hear it late at night, it will wake you up from a sound sleep. It’s awakened my wife three or four times a night,” Lancaster resident Brian Robin told the Los Angeles Daily News.
“We thought it was far enough away,” Antelope Valley Film Office liaison Pauline East told the same paper.
After all, the road is in a remote area. And who in their right mind would move to a remote area for the quiet?
The grooves were paved over on September 24th.
And predictably, the respite was brief. Guess what happened next. The grooves won. Money won.
But It Will Save Our Town
Lancaster City Hall was “flooded” with hundreds of “requests” to bring back the “musical road.” Some calls came from “Canada.” Just think about that for a minute. Canada. And, now you can go ahead and make up your own punch line.
“There’s been an overwhelming positive response from both citizens and the nation at large. It’s captured people’s imaginations,” Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris told the Associated Press, before adding the same pathetic excuse every town in the world makes just before it soils itself. “It will be a tourist attraction. It will pull people off the freeway.”
Last week the Lancaster City Council actually appropriated $35,000 to cut new grooves into a new street. The new grooves will still play the same old song when people drive over them. The city hired the same company that cut the original grooves. So they get to do the same job twice.
There has been, as yet, no report of what the members of the Lancaster City Council got from Honda or the ad agency or the groove cutting company except for the satisfaction that always comes from a job well done.
The new musical road will be a stretch of Avenue G in Lancaster, between 30th and 40th Streets West.
Shush. Hear that? Know what that sound is? That’s right. That’s the sound of all those Canadians with all their Canadian dollars pouring into Lancaster.