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Comments (15) Posted 07.03.06 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Jessica Helfand

Absolut Signage



Photograph by Jessica Helfand, 2006.

You'd have to have been asleep for a good part of the last decade to miss the Absolut advertising campaign that has plastered the world (and which, for that matter, has left the world that much more plastered.) Artists from Eric Adigard to Lisa Yuskavage have lent their visions to the now-ubiquitous bottle, a sort of anthropomorphized vessel that lends itself to a host of interpretations.

Including this one, photographed at the miniature golf park not far from where we live in the Berkshires. I'm deeply in touch with my inner schoolmarm, particularly when it involves typos set in stone — or in this case, emblazoned in metal. I call it: Absolut Boo-Boo.

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Comments (15)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT COMMENT >>

How do you know it's a real boo boo? It could just be another form of advertisement from Absolut since it does mention drinking. Just the thought of that makes me think how close to the sad truth that actually is in many cases in the world of advertising and profit pursual of the governing corporations.
Ghazaleh
07.03.06 at 09:10

I have to agree with Jessica. Unfortunatly, many people get so bombarded with ads that they think some things are spelled (or pronounced or ARE) like the ads. "Hardee," comes to mind -- though not, I imagine, in the land of "Carl, Jr." (That one really miffs me personally.)

Young children get things confused like this, too.

I know I've seen these "typos" but I usually laugh them off and don't record them.

Any other good ones? I could use a phat laff, right now.

Respectfully,
Joe Moran
07.04.06 at 12:31

Well actually I didn't think at all it would be an advertisement but thought it would be interesting to bring up the idea of it. Since we can't really do anything but laugh at this typo and call people stupid and ignorant towards the language and move on to the next blog topic, I thought maybe I should bring up advertising in all this.
Ghazaleh
07.04.06 at 01:09

I noticed, as I was walking through the isles of the supermarket, that many products offer a low-calorie, healthier, option. What struck me as odd, was that the word "light" is often spelled "lite." People actually think that "lite" is the other spelling of the word—that light and lite are different—even though it isn't technically a real word. Does that spelling look thinner? Pretty funny to me.
Ben
07.04.06 at 05:45

my mom still says she is going to "xerox" something when she intends to make a copy of it. i always thought that was pretty good advertising, to make your company a verb that people use all the time. I see what you're saying. it would be a good tactic, try to get everytone to start spelling absolute like absolut. why is it always sad? why would we be any worse off because a company was sneaky and somehow got their signage out there in such a way? i think it's clever. i'm going to go goole some stuff now.
Michael
07.04.06 at 05:54

Sounds like the usage of the word "google" - now that certainly is an invented word!
Catherine
07.04.06 at 09:49

I say it is an inside joke. In addition to the spelling, take a look at the font. It is the same as the font on the Absolut Vodka bottles.

I think it's brillant.
You Mon Tsang
07.05.06 at 02:02

Actually, it's not the same. The face use here is Avant Garde. Absolut ads employ a version of Futura Condensed Extra Black. However, seeing how both are geometric, it could be an intentional (mis)usage.
Kosal Sen
07.05.06 at 09:29

Kosal, unless this miniature golf park is somehow design-oriented, we're probably reading too much into it. It would be nice to believe that some of these things exist for the enjoyment of type nerds.

I seem to spot typos like this all the time around my city (Ann Arbor.) The best one I've seen in a while was on a massive, 6'x8' poster for the city's summer festival: one line read "University of Michigan"; the one directly under it read "Universtiy of Michigan", both in Akzidenz Grotesk. Now that's an akzidenz. :P
Eston
07.05.06 at 10:25

Advertising strikes again! Why do we always think that we are above the fray when it comes to seeing through the clever sneakiness of advertising? It's okay when we don't, because in the end, we always want to outclever each other. BUt, is that what it's all about? And, is this where advertising is going? Subtler and subtler....
SeaSarahWrite
07.05.06 at 12:50

It's Carl's Jr.

And here's the reason why.

There was a restaurant named Carl's (in San Diego or some place, as Northern Californians say: "down south" bringing to mind Alabama, when they mean LA and points below).

When Carl's opened a quick-serve stand, it was called Carl's Jr.

Clever? Maybe not so much. But that's the reason why. It's nothing to do with a person named Carl, Jr. Or anything like that.

Now Ruth's Chris.

That bothers me. Because as a Chris myself. I've always wanted to know why Ruth gets her own Chris.
DC1974
07.06.06 at 08:38

The reason "Carl's Jr." torques me is because I grew up in Missouri and had never heard of Carl's Jr. before visiting California. It has always been called "Hardees" here (and in Illinois, Colorado, Kansas. etc.).

Although its obviously branded the same and I instantly knew I was viewing a "Hardees" with a very unfamiliar "Carl's Jr". sign out front.

And the menu was the same, too. ?!?!?

So it not only confused the heck out of me but made me think ... why the heck are there two different names for the same restaurant chain?

And here's what I found on Ruth's Chris. Although this being from the Wikpedia, I'm not Absolutly sure its Accura. Ha!

Respectfully,
Joe Moran
07.06.06 at 07:40

This is great. It reminds me of Dunkin' Donuts. I see plenty of "Donut" shops around the Atlanta area. Rather amusing. Thanks for the laugh, Jessica.
John
07.06.06 at 10:31

"my mom still says she is going to "xerox" something when she intends to make a copy of it. i always thought that was pretty good advertising, to make your company a verb that people use all the time. I see what you're saying. it would be a good tactic, try to get everytone to start spelling absolute like absolut. why is it always sad? why would we be any worse off because a company was sneaky and somehow got their signage out there in such a way? i think it's clever. i'm going to go goole some stuff now.
Posted by: Michael at July 4, 2006 05:54 PM
"

on that note, Merriam Webster has just added "google" to its defination as to search for something. ie. "can you google this?"

To Google: Merriam-Webster Defines `Google' as a Verb (Update1)

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_en&refer=us&sid=a6E84sBwGVLc

Matt
07.10.06 at 02:57

I instantly knew I was viewing a "Hardees" with a very unfamiliar "Carl's Jr". sign out front.

I grew up in Orange County, California, a few miles from Carl Karcher's first restaurant, Carl's Drive-In Barbecue, in Anaheim and his subsequent and smaller Carl's Jr. (His previous hot dog stand in South Central L.A.—sorry, it's officially South Los Angeles now—was well before my time.) I now live a few miles from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, the site of Wilber Hardee's first.

Karcher was tossed off the board of Carl Karcher Enterprises back in the '90s, if memory serves. Right around then they bought Hardee's from a Canadian Company. Wilber was long gone.

The star logo and graphics were Carl's Jr's before CKE bought Hardee's.
Gunnar Swanson
07.12.06 at 03:53


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer, is an award-winning graphic designer and writer and a former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Communications Arts and Eye magazines. A member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and a recent laureate of the Art Director's Hall of Fame, Helfand received her B.A. and her M.F.A. from Yale University where she has taught since 1994.
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DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS









BOOKS BY Jessica Helfand

Screen: Essays on Graphic Design, New Media, and Visual Culture
Winterhouse Editions, 2001

Scrapbooks: An American History
Yale University Press, 2008

Reinventing the Wheel
Winterhouse Editions, 2002

Paul Rand: American Modernist
winterhouse Editions, 1998

Looking Closer 3
Allworth Press, 1999

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