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July 11, 2008 1:34 PM   Subscribe

A new sort of pop art has sprung up in New Orleans - cars emblazoned with brand names, usually snack foods.
posted by plexi (117 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
The title was supposed to be "chomp shop".
posted by plexi at 1:34 PM on July 11, 2008


She loved Doritos anyway, so . . . $840 and a trip to an auto graphics company later, she was plying the streets of Kennedy Heights on the West Bank in a Doritos mobile, "GUARANTEED FRESH" emblazoned on the rear door.

These people are paying for their stickers and they are choosing advertising brands.

I had assumed that the brands were paying or providing them for free, which wouldn't be such a bad idea... but... this...

Crazy. Just crazy.
posted by rokusan at 1:38 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


New Orleans is sinking....
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:39 PM on July 11, 2008


So many personal judgements to make from afar, I don't know where to start.
posted by cashman at 1:40 PM on July 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


I will take this one step further and start putting giant Ford stickers on every Chevy I see.
posted by m0nm0n at 1:43 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Everything is advertising"?

That article is... one of the most depressing things I've read so far this year. It kind of encapsulates why our country is so fucked up. So many people are seemingly unable to frame their selves and lives outside of the slavery of money, marketing and consumption.


If you want to imagine the future of humanity, imagine a tattoo of the McDonald's logo on the morbidly obese face of a small child.
posted by loquacious at 1:44 PM on July 11, 2008 [21 favorites]


ugh... shouldn't the ppl doing this to their cars get something from their corp. masters? Doritos/Cheetos/Subway for the life of the car at least.

The analogy between this and Warhol seems weak to me. At least Warhol created the image (or had someone do it), instead of recycling the logos themselves. Also, (I hope) Warhol put some thought into what he was doing, instead of just 'woot, turn my car into a cheeto-mobile'.

OTOH who's to say what's art and all of that.
posted by askmehow at 1:45 PM on July 11, 2008


Someone appears to want attention.

Besides, no Count Chocula? Fakers...
posted by ZaneJ. at 1:46 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


from the article:

"so . . . $840 and a trip to an auto graphics company later,"

as rokusan said above, um yeah.

Here in the Bay Area various companies give away cars with this advertising, as long as you put enough miles on them in the area.

then again, I guess that's the difference between creating and consuming 2% of the world's GDP vs. being only marginally attached to the US economy.
posted by yort at 1:48 PM on July 11, 2008


I'm a git me a big orange donk, an Impala maybe, with some hot 30-inch rims, Lambo doors, and make it look like a big ol bag of Reese's Pieces. All the ladies'll want a handful of my pieces; that's some classy shit right ther.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:49 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


I saw a Sunkist soda covered old orange cadillac here in Buffalo the other day. It didn't look so much like a corporate sponsor deal, more like something from Idiocracy.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:51 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's like NASCAR fashion, but without, you know, the getting paid by the sponsor. Brilliant.
posted by quin at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2008


Brought to you by Carl's Jr.
posted by Drastic at 1:52 PM on July 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


I am not going to stand in judgment of these people. I will, however, sit in silent hatred of them.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:53 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Um, the flipside of this not being provided and paid for by the brands is very obviously that these people (and graphics companies) are setting themselves up for tardemark infringement lawsuits. All it takes is a nationally-distributed photo of one of these cars caught in an uncompromising act to make the lawyers swoop in.
posted by adamms222 at 1:55 PM on July 11, 2008


Someone get me a Goody's. This has got to be some kind of Viral.
posted by Gungho at 1:58 PM on July 11, 2008


The article itself is a thinly disguised attempt at corporate sponsored viral marketing written by some 23 year old at a PR firm. Don't promote this crap.
posted by Muirwylde at 1:58 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


They all run on electrolytes.

It's what cars need.

(And laugh all you want at the suckers who are paying big money to advertise the products of multi-national conglomerates. Then think back to the mid-80s -- if you can -- and try to remember how much you wanted a Coca-Cola Rugby Shirt of your very own.)
posted by grabbingsand at 1:59 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of something I read, probably in one of those "let's view things with alarm" popcult anthropology books - that many teens think athletes aren't paid to be in advertising, but pay for the privilege themselves or do it for the prestige. But those are teens, not grups with hundreds of dollars to blow on stickers.
posted by fleetmouse at 2:00 PM on July 11, 2008


I think it was a typo, but adamms222 pretty much hit the nail on the head with "tardmark infringement."
posted by snofoam at 2:02 PM on July 11, 2008 [16 favorites]


Nascar.
posted by Zambrano at 2:03 PM on July 11, 2008


I've been seeing the same thing here in Raleigh for the last couple of years. I've seen an Orange Crush Impala and a Cheeto's vehicle (I think it might've been an SUV).
posted by NoMich at 2:07 PM on July 11, 2008


These comments make me sad - you know, these people haven't read No Logo, and most are the products of the New Orleans Public School System. The city is so incredibly fucked up, and so immensely poor - these are a waste of money, sure, but so is a 42" plasma television. Or 2 hours with a camgirl. It just brings happiness to their lives.

And yet there you sit, comfortable in the smugness of your graduate school education, with trigger-finger disdain. David Simon (The Wire) is producing his next show in New Orleans, called Treme. It will be similar to The Wire, and deal with public housing, violence, and people surviving urban blight. Maybe you'll watch it, and nod that yes, you understand poor people. You've seen it on television.
posted by plexi at 2:12 PM on July 11, 2008 [24 favorites]


Snack foods and cars, huh? They deserve each other. We sure like to smack one American failure right on top of another and call it a parade, don't we? Next thing you know, we'll be combining crappy medical care and television. Oh, right.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:12 PM on July 11, 2008


This is a sign of the decline of civilisation. Advertising is evil and such. And now I'm going to play with my iPhone 3G and download apps from the store and dissolve in a puddle of joy.
posted by hojoki at 2:13 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


They are just hastening our Idiocracy fate.
posted by sourwookie at 2:15 PM on July 11, 2008


I've seen this in Oakland.
posted by spork at 2:17 PM on July 11, 2008


As much as I want to sneer at these people, I'm going to take a moment to step back, look at myself, and admit that I want nothing more in life than to be able to drive around the country in the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:19 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


plexi, the idea of affiliating yourself with a brand of candy or chip by covering yourself or your conveyance with its logo is really sad and a poor form of expression. It isn't pop art, it's a hollow form of folk art that reflects a commercialized culture. Yes, that happens in poor circles, where television is the dominant cultural venue. It also happens in wealthy ones. Vuitton bags, anyone?

Who "these people" are has only to do with this what you dictate.

And don't troll with an FPP.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:21 PM on July 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


Area Man Has Asshole, Old Navy Written All Over Him

Here in the Bay Area various companies give away cars with this advertising, as long as you put enough miles on them in the area.

Hell, I've got Toyota ads all over my car!! Send me money!!
posted by mattbucher at 2:21 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who "these people" are has only to do with this what you dictate.

Goddam, I still can't parse this. Is you is or is you ain't my dictate.
posted by mattbucher at 2:23 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


When I lived in Calgary, so many people were into festooning their cars & SUVs with stickers bragging about all the stuff they'd bought - North Face, Salamon, Oakley, 5.10 etc... So for the back window of my van I made up stickers from the most banal, everyday things I could find in the supermarket, - Tide, Windsor Salt, Ruffles, and Barilla pasta.
Basically I was trying to take the piss out of this kind of consumerism, but it seems like these people really are into their Doritos.
posted by Flashman at 2:26 PM on July 11, 2008 [11 favorites]


* sticks icepick up nose, swirls it around a few time *

Cheers, plexi! now i am knot no alitist.
posted by everichon at 2:27 PM on July 11, 2008


I'd like to get in on this trend early here in Portland but I'm having trouble deciding what product to emblazon my car with. I've narrowed it down to Tofutti Cuties, Kettle Baked Potato Chips, or Bunny-Luv carrots.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 2:32 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh yes, is my bike ever getting the Amy's Spinach Pizza treatment.
posted by everichon at 2:35 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Maybe you'll watch it, and nod that yes, you understand poor people. You've seen it on television.

You can take your own sanctimonious smugness and shove it deep and far up inside your poophole. I am a poor person. You have no freaking clue where I've been, how I've lived and what I've had to do to survive. I don't have a graduate degree. Hell, I never graduated High School. These erroneous indicators of social strata are orthogonal to the issue.

That issue is that these aren't art - they're symptoms of a cultural disease and a general failure of imagination.

Andy Warhol's re-appropriation of logos-as-art was barely art. It was a tepid commentary on advertising, branding, and reprographic technology, a half-assed detournement of the branding imagery as found art object. A commentary almost anyone with only half a drug-addled brain could figure out for themselves, a commentary that had been made before.

This? This is what happens in monoculture. This is what happens when people grow up in a totally marketing-saturated environment. This is what happens when children readily recognize hundreds of brand names and logos, but can't even name a single flower from their yard or playground. This is what happens when people are so fucking lazy they can't even make a goddamn sandwich, and opt to drive somewhere to have one made for them, instead.

This is what happens when multiple generations grow up while learning the message "You're worthless, unhappy and incomplete if you're not consuming our product".

This is what happens when our culture bases the worth of individuals on what products they consume.
posted by loquacious at 2:36 PM on July 11, 2008 [111 favorites]


dr. bronner's soap, although you would probably need a school bus to get everything on there.
posted by snofoam at 2:39 PM on July 11, 2008 [10 favorites]


Previously
posted by hoboynow at 2:39 PM on July 11, 2008


I would be okay with this if they were advertising Dr. Nut.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:42 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


and so immensely poor ... And yet there you sit, comfortable in the smugness

Wait, was this comment supposed to be making me feel less smug? Because I have to tell you, when all I read was the article, I imagined that it was rich people spending $1000 to turn their vehicles into corporate billboards, and that didn't make me feel smug, just confused and perhaps a little jealous of anyone who can waste that much disposable income on a lark. But you're saying that it's actually immensely poor people who are paying money they can't afford to make their cars advertise someone else's junk food? Now I can feel smug.
posted by roystgnr at 2:43 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I too clicked the link assuming the companies were paying for the logo and most likely compensating the drivers for the exposure. Bizarre.

Then again, every single car on the road is emblazoned with a logo or two belonging to the manufacturer; i.e. rolling ads. Hell, if you're even remotely interested in cars you can tell what make one is with a simple glance.

Going even further, almost all products no matter what kind has a logo on them. Companies should be paying us to use their stuff in public! Rah!
posted by pyrex at 2:44 PM on July 11, 2008


I'd skin my car with some cool Dig Dug imagery (the artwork featured on the sides of the cabinet), but the $840 cost of these decal treatments is more than the car is worth.
posted by porn in the woods at 2:50 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I no longer do this, but I use to collect Diet Coke memorabilia. Not that I have an erection for Diet Coke, it was just a cool hobby. I didn't identify myself with Diet Coke. In fact I thought Coca-Cola Corp were a bunch of fuckwads (still do). But that didn't prevent me from trolling eBay daily to look for cool Diet Coke stuff.

If I were still doing that, I would have zero problem making my car look like a Diet Coke can. Even if I didn't get paid. Hell, being paid for it would ruin the thing frankly.

And if I did get the Coke car I would laugh at all the morons who claimed my car encapsulates why our country is so fucked up. Or that I am seemingly unable to frame myself and my life outside of the slavery of money, marketing and consumption. The idea that I identified myself with Diet Coke just because I had a Diet Coke car would be simpleminded and elitist.

Your favorite fashion statement sucks too. Even if it's the smug gibberish about how you live free from the shackles of fashion slavery. Some of you people need to get a reality check about your suggestion that your shit doesn't stink.

Also, as someone who has lived on a farm, grown his own food, and killed for meat, I'm guessing most of the "brand slavery is so sad" folks are working for big corporations and shopping by brand. So either tell me how you live off the land and make your own clothes, or shut the fuck up.

Your favorite fashion statement sucks.
posted by Ragma at 2:50 PM on July 11, 2008 [11 favorites]


Yup, if you love Skittles, you are a consumer whore. Too lazy to make your own Skittles, eh? Typical!
posted by Brocktoon at 2:54 PM on July 11, 2008 [12 favorites]


/derail
heh.... I'm still the first website link for a "diet coke guy" Google search. So sad that I'm unable to frame myself and my life outside of the slavery of money, marketing and consumption. Oh, that's right, my biggest claim to fame is my contribution to public domain resources. Too bad there's no grey area.
/end derail
posted by Ragma at 2:56 PM on July 11, 2008


OK, I got judgmental on this at first too, I'll admit it. But regardless of the merits of this as high art, I really don't think anyone doing this is actively concerned about selling more Cheetos. Commerce is not the reason for this. So if you're co-opting advertising imagery for some other purpose than selling the product that imagery promotes, how is that motive different than Warhol or much of the rest of modern art? It's de-contextualizing and re-purposing just the same.

I think that it's fair to look at this as a group of people working with the imagery they have to create something bold and noticeable as well as taking ownership of these motifs that are literally everywhere. As art this may not be saying much, and I certainly wouldn't do this to my car, but I think it's too easy to sum this up as the death of civilization or just another indication of America Gone Wrong. It's the same as somebody wearing a Nike t-shirt.

If you think otherwise, that a car is something you shouldn't put logos on, you have to consider that perhaps your image of your vehicle and what it means is another sort of iconography. And maybe that's something to break away from. If you're too close to the status symbolism of your car and not able to act playfully with your possessions, maybe that's a problem too.

Disclaimer: I'm guilty of thinking my stuff defines me, and I was not endorsing Nike t-shirts.
posted by dosterm at 2:57 PM on July 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


tardmark infringement - is the funniest thing I've heard all week.

Also; Plexi - I was poor once (dirt fucking poor. I slept in the bushes for a while) but I'm not now and there's no God-damned way I'd spend a fucking grand on making my vehicle look like a Doritos bag. Your comment smacks more of reality-challenged, Ivory Tower Academia to me than any of the condemnation here.

There's a difference between being poor and ignorant, and being balls-out stupid, you know.

Why do I feel as if I've just been tricked in to responding to a troll?
posted by Pecinpah at 2:58 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


How many people who think this is so, so terribly sad own a t-shirt with these name of a band on it? That band pay you anything?

Yeah, I like Sterolab more than Chee-tos too--and I understand all the differences between the two examples. But I think this is one of the many times here that people are expressing supposedly-socially-motivated umbrage, when what they're really feeling is aesthetic distaste.
posted by neroli at 3:02 PM on July 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


I thought the first comment was interesting:

Posted by cajundawg on 07/11/08 at 9:02AM
Awesome. I see the Frosted Flakes car on the Westbank a lot. I've passed the money car on the street too.

The thing is, it seems to me the products chosen are thinly-veiled references to the drug culture. "Lucky charms" (marijuana), "Frosted flakes" (cocaine), Cheetos (crack). Even Doritos play to the "munchies" side effect of being high.

Can't explain "Lemonheads" though, so I could be completely mistaken!

posted by P.o.B. at 3:10 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


I see it now: "Officer, it was a hit and run by Mr. Peanut."
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:11 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Since it would be thoroughly conspicuous to decorate a car like a ginormous marijuana plant, maybe they have just decided to use their favorite brand of munchies instead.
posted by clearly at 3:11 PM on July 11, 2008


How many people who think this is so, so terribly sad own a t-shirt with these name of a band on it?

Well, in most cases, when I wear a bands t-shirt, I've bought it from them at a concert, so I know that my money is helping to support a musician that I like. In the case of these, all these people are doing to providing money to the company that makes the stickers.
posted by quin at 3:13 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I thought this was a conversation about people with new cars, and the money for extravagant decorations for said cars. How'd we start talking about poor people?
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:13 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


billyfleetwood: How'd we start talking about poor people?

Because, as we know for a fact, George Bush doesn't care about black people.
posted by pyrex at 3:20 PM on July 11, 2008


So sad that I'm unable to frame myself and my life outside of the slavery of money, marketing and consumption.

Are you able to see yourself outside of that framework? It seems as though you're able to do so. If so, why are you so defensive about it?
The thing is, it seems to me the products chosen are thinly-veiled references to the drug culture. "Lucky charms" (marijuana), "Frosted flakes" (cocaine), Cheetos (crack). Even Doritos play to the "munchies" side effect of being high.
This makes more sense - and if so, takes the issue beyond what it is we're discussing here.

Yup, if you love Skittles, you are a consumer whore. Too lazy to make your own Skittles, eh? Typical!

If you really loved chewy gelatin fruit-flavored candy, you'd already know how easy it was to make candy. You would lovingly distill essential fruit flavors into natural flavoring agents. You might even make your own gelatin. You would probably own a copper kettle and you might have a large rock tumbler set up for polishing/coating candy.

Hell, you might even work at the plant that makes Skittles. (But you'd probably be a mechanic, not a candymaker.)

However, if you merely purchase and consume Skittles on a regular basis - I'm honestly questioning the depth of your love for them. You like them - but that's not the same thing as love.

Don't devalue the meaning of the word "love".

As for being a consumer whore? That's your choice, not mine. Frankly, my spoon is too big, and I am a banana.
posted by loquacious at 3:29 PM on July 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


How'd we start talking about poor people?

Because everyone pictured is black, and we all know black people can't have good jobs.
posted by Mick at 3:32 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Nelly Node did it better.
posted by isopraxis at 3:50 PM on July 11, 2008


we all know black people can't have good jobs

That can't be true. I saw several on The Wire who have totally good jobs.
posted by everichon at 3:53 PM on July 11, 2008


Since I didn't notice anyone upthread making this comment: Setting aside for a second these possibly poor and uneducated people who own the cars, the attitude of Times-Picayune Art Critic Doug MacCash is enough to prove the Idiocracy has come upon us.

The snack food enthusiasts are merely having some fun. This article is Mr. MacCash's attempt to fulfill his job responsibilities as art critic for the daily newspaper of New Orleans.
posted by snofoam at 3:55 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh goodness, and writers on topics as precious as art mustn't ever take notice of what hoi polloi get up to in their plebeian recreations. They ought to be contemplating alabaster busts of myrmidons and whatnot.
posted by fleetmouse at 4:19 PM on July 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm a git me a big orange donk, an Impala maybe, with some hot 30-inch rims, Lambo doors, and make it look like a big ol bag of Reese's Pieces. All the ladies'll want a handful of my pieces; that's some classy shit right ther.

Perhaps I should take it upon myself to obtain a substantial and luxurious vehicle, the color of an orange blossom, shod with attractive wheels, customize the doors for easy access, and then have it delivered to a mechanic who would then apply a decal to convince passers-by to believe that my automobile is, in fact, an overlarge food container capable of moving under its own power; the attention I obtain in this fashion, vis a vis the confusion on the faces of the proletariat as they observe my conveyance in passing, shall cause all who witness my extravagance to understand my rightful place in the upper social strata.
posted by davejay at 4:19 PM on July 11, 2008 [16 favorites]


also, everyone I know who is young and has a customized car either pulls off the brand names of the car itself entirely, or replaces those emblems with an ironically mismatched one, such as a Lexus badge on a beetle, or an overseas-market emblem for the US version of the same car.
posted by davejay at 4:22 PM on July 11, 2008


Well, in most cases, when I wear a bands t-shirt, I've bought it from them at a concert, so I know that my money is helping to support a musician that I like. In the case of these, all these people are doing to providing money to the company that makes the stickers.

So if they paid Doritos for it, it'd be okay?

I say, chill everyone. There's nothing wrong with people doing this. Nobody is coming over to your house and painting a Hardee's logo on your Honda Fit.* Lemonheads are pretty awesome, and if I saw a car dedicated to them, I'd say, "Ha. Look at at that."

*my own Honda Fit is named Gogo Yubari, because that's the kind of geek I am. I don't have a logo painted on it, because I'm not as flashy as these folks.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:28 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I like Sterolab more than Chee-tos too

I can't stand either.
posted by jonmc at 4:38 PM on July 11, 2008


davejay: A friend-of-a-friend had a riced WRX with all the manufacturer tuning labels. A gas station attendant asked him what kind of car a "Prodrive" was.
posted by Skorgu at 4:39 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: my spoon is too big, and I am a banana
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:52 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


If it's any comfort to those concerned with how this reflects on whatever socioeconomic class it is to which these people belong: I cannot prove this, but I'm pretty sure that the overwhelming majority, like, 99.999999999% of the people in the same income bracket as these car owners are thinking the same thing:

"That fucking Cheetoes car is fucking stupid."
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 5:07 PM on July 11, 2008


Immensely weird. I am conflicted.

One: this is very stupid.

Two: this is kind of cool, if you catch it in the right light. I mean, it's just a ridiculous game, and it's cool to have a ridiculous game that you and your friends can really get into together—whether it's Dungeons & Dragons, square dancing, or icing out your hoopty to look like a giant Twinkie. And you have to admit that the audacious gaudiness/flashiness of street trends like this is, at least, entertaining from a distance.

Three: but this is still very stupid. I mean, Doritos?

Four: it's not the same thing at all, but it reminds me of the recontextualized ad imagery that was all over rave flyers and shirts in the '90s. They'd take lurid packaging design and logos from Lucky Charms or Tide or Marlboro or Adidas, and pun on the text and images to make drug references and the like. The difference, of course: the point of that stuff was, more or less, anti-capitalist, while the cars...actually seem to be paying homage to fucking Doritos.
posted by greenie2600 at 5:23 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Flashman, you're my hero.

I hate those damn Apple stickers.
posted by greenie2600 at 5:25 PM on July 11, 2008


Perhaps I should take it upon myself to obtain a substantial and luxurious vehicle, the color of an orange blossom, shod with attractive wheels, customize the doors for easy access, and then have it delivered to a mechanic who would then apply a decal to convince passers-by to believe that my automobile is, in fact, an overlarge food container capable of moving under its own power; the attention I obtain in this fashion, vis a vis the confusion on the faces of the proletariat as they observe my conveyance in passing, shall cause all who witness my extravagance to understand my rightful place in the upper social strata.

Or they might think the snack food has come alive and is seeking revenge.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:26 PM on July 11, 2008


I don't see this as being all that different from driving a car around that says "Lexus" or "Jaguar" on it somewhere.

Please oh please let someone sticker up a Corolla with Aston-Martin logos.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:27 PM on July 11, 2008


the point of that stuff was, more or less, anti-capitalist, while the cars...actually seem to be paying homage to fucking Doritos.

Actually, I think they're more likely an homage to eating Doritos.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:31 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: comfortable in the smugness of your graduate school education, with trigger-finger disdain.
posted by ericb at 5:46 PM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I hate those damn Apple stickers

For the most part I do too, despite being quite fond of apple products.

But, having many apple products, I had many stickers. So I amused myself by putting one on my hammer drill, because, well, you know. Ironic juxtaposition or something.
posted by flaterik at 5:46 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some people in this world set their clocks and watches 5 or 10 minutes ahead, and some set them "on time". I'm one of the latter types. Shortly before I discovered this website I purchased two battery powered clocks that received radio signals which synced them with "official" time. The price had come way down by the time I bought them; I think I got them at Target for about $30 each.

Shortly thereafter, I became discouraged, as I realized that my two "atomic" clock were not synced with each other. I pondered the possible reasons why, and came up with two; one possibility was that they were too far away from the radio signal. I live in Seattle, and the signal came from Colorado, if I remember correctly. I also considered the possibility that the aluminium siding on my house might be interfering with the radio signal.

In a fit of pique, I decided that I wanted to let the world know that these clocks were not up to snuff. I decided to display them publicly, so that everyone could see that they were not even synced with each other. THE GREAT ATOMIC CLOCK SCAM! Like religion, if they contradict each other at least one, if not both are wrong. I sealed each clock with house-wrap tape to repel moisture, and used drywall screws and stainless steel aircraft wire from Boeing Surplus to wire them to the side of my F-100 pickup truck.

Amazingly enough, once the clocks were outside they began to tell the correct time! They synced to within a second or two of each other, and stayed that way for months. Direct sunshine would cause the display screen to blacken, but it would bounce back to normal after a while. When it got really cold and rainy, one of the clocks would conk out for a time, but it would eventually bounce back.

Inevitably, people would ask me about them, usually in the parking lot of 7-11. I would give the shortest honest answer I could, like "Oh, they didn't work inside, but they do outside". At least once while waiting at a red light with my window rolled down I received the non-ironic comment from the car beside me; "Hey, that's a good idea". So my original motivation of anger had morphed into something not quite art-car, and not quite functional device.

In retrospect, I guess it was pretty weird, and I'm not sure I'd do it again. But I submit to you that the world needs more automotive weirdness like this, and fewer ads for fucking Doritos.
posted by Tube at 5:51 PM on July 11, 2008 [18 favorites]


the point of that stuff was, more or less, anti-capitalist, while the cars...actually seem to be paying homage to fucking Doritos.

Actually, I think they're more likely an homage to eating Doritos.


no, after a whole bunch of speed, acid & E, "fucking doritos" is probably much closer to the money.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:53 PM on July 11, 2008


no, after a whole bunch of speed, acid & E, "fucking doritos" is probably much closer to the money.

heh. remember this one? Snack chip love is abing and deep, lusty, dusty and flaming hot.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:03 PM on July 11, 2008


I'd do it if I could get some free Flamin' Hot Cheetos!
posted by autodidact at 6:43 PM on July 11, 2008


Who's game for spray-painting their car with a MeFi blue basecoat, and printing some big stickers? Sounds like a good weekend of bonding in the garage.
posted by fijiwriter at 7:10 PM on July 11, 2008


I have a black car, what brands could I choose to sticker it? So far I can only think of Rockstar energy drink.
I live like 45 minutes from New Orleans, and haven't seen them in Baton Rouge yet, nor have I seen them in Shreveport.
posted by bolda at 7:47 PM on July 11, 2008


bolda I would go with this as a start
posted by HappyHippo at 7:58 PM on July 11, 2008


Man! These are sick nasty! The only thing I don't like is the brand choices.

(Although, I have to give it up for Lemonheads.)

I don't own a car because I live on a small island, but I might get an electric golf cart and go totally....


....wait, I am unable to think of a brand I identify with so much besides my own.
posted by humannaire at 8:15 PM on July 11, 2008


A Doritos car? Hell yes.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:28 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had an apple sticker on my pickup truck once, but it was back when they had a rainbow on them. The only comment I got was from a few guys in another car, who (through the window) asked what it meant. When I responded that I worked with computers and it was a logo for apple computers, they laughed, and one said "oh, we thought it meant that you were gay."

I left the sticker on, specifically because my first reaction was to take it off, and I felt that it would be a bullshit reaction to have and I should get over it
posted by davejay at 9:06 PM on July 11, 2008



These comments make me sad - you know, these people haven't read No Logo, and most are the products of the New Orleans Public School System. The city is so incredibly fucked up, and so immensely poor - these are a waste of money, sure, but so is a 42" plasma television. Or 2 hours with a camgirl. It just brings happiness to their lives.

And yet there you sit, comfortable in the smugness of your graduate school education, with trigger-finger disdain. David Simon (The Wire) is producing his next show in New Orleans, called Treme. It will be similar to The Wire, and deal with public housing, violence, and people surviving urban blight. Maybe you'll watch it, and nod that yes, you understand poor people. You've seen it on television.


You're coming across pretty smug and condescending yourself towards the subjects of the article; you pity them as poor and uneducated and therefore are lecturing "on their behalf" that it's mean to have an opinion on this the appropriation of advertising as recreation and/or art?

And you forgot the accent in Tremé.
posted by desuetude at 9:09 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I spent $2.00 for a MetroCard and got to ride in the Times Square Shuttle festooned with a fully wrapped "Mad Men" interior and exterior.
posted by Frank Grimes at 9:41 PM on July 11, 2008


The people who are putting brand logoes on their cars are doing so because they are bright, colorful, familiar. It never occurred to them not to think brand logos were something distasteful.

These people did not receive the windfall of the expensive education to teach them that they shouldn't like brand logos, that it's shallow to think brand logos are cool, etc. It never occurred to them to "think critically" about the role of corporate brands in their lives.

Those of you who think the brand logos on cars are stupid, would you feel the same way about a car painted in an idiosyncratic, non-corporate way? (I used to see a car around Austin with plastic toy dinosaurs glues all over it.) If not, why? Any reflexive approval of an idiosyncratic paint-job could be portrayed as similarly shallow and stupid. What I mean is, I see these Doritos cars as attempts at being individual and distinctive; your hippy-dippy car, covered in peace and ecology stickers, etc., could be viewed as just another manifestation of herd-mentality, off-the-shelf, smug ostentation.
posted by jayder at 9:51 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


You'll all laugh on the other side of your faces when Prince Charles has his Bentley done up like a Tampax box.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:49 PM on July 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


If these guys tricked out their cars to look like bacon, y'all would praise them to the skies..
posted by citron at 12:34 AM on July 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


Jayder, personally my gut brand hating reaction was formed in my early teens when people cleaved to brands as status symbols. I saw people being judged more on their adherence to brand identity than on their merits as a person. I doubt you can grow up anywhere in this country and not have a similar experience (although some places it's D&G and others Nike).

More recently I saw custom cars with the make and model lettering peeled off, and I thought that was awesome. Even though my car is in no way individualized, I yanked the make and model off (easier to wax + not advertising for the company).

I will say though, that for some reason the lemonhead and the money car both appeal to me a little bit. If I liked the color more, I might want a boston baked beans car, but more likely I'd pick a fictional brand like brawndo, or another idiocracy inspired brand identity. Maybe a Ruger "the reward" car.

Bolda, Death cigarettes? Big Hunk? Skor?
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:26 AM on July 12, 2008


First: Sorry if I offended you, plexi.


Second: I want to clarify a couple of points on my position about this.

I don't actually think out of hand that the people who are doing this are stupid, inferior - or whatever other classisms and judgements you want to wrongly read into my stance.

If anything I see these people as potential victims of a system, or symptoms of an unhealthy cultural ecosystem. But that depends a lot on what the intent and meaning behind the choices these individuals make to decorate their cars, which are likely diverse and many.

If it isn't intentional reappropriation, symbology or code at best these are decorations and not "art", and at worst are free marketing.

If it is intentional reppropriation and symbology then it starts to bleed pretty heavily into the realm of art, and is a rather clever (if known) way to obscure intent in the pervasive cultural noise of marketing.
posted by loquacious at 1:50 AM on July 12, 2008


I like these cars and the people who decorated them.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:40 AM on July 12, 2008


Another example of the world accurately foretold in the blackballed Mike Judge film Idiocracy
posted by unpoppy at 5:16 AM on July 12, 2008


This just seems childlike. Sobeit. I'll take a [debatably] ugly Cheetos car to a pumping stereo that makes farting sounds as it goes down the street vibrating its panels ANYDAY. Visual noise vs. audio? I can handle it. Oh, and it's really none of the my fucking business how someone else spends their money. Could it be better allocated? Probably. Could I stand up to the same scrutiny? Probably not.

All my life I've been stunned by how people will 'pimp their ride'. Putting an Alpine sticker on your windshield is like an advertisement for both Alpine AND thieves. Tinting only makes sense if you don't have privacy at home and need to have some.

Still, I see it a positive that a business in New Orleans has found/made this niche for itself.

I hate those damn Apple stickers
I put mine from the iPod on the center of my thinkpad's cover.
Fun to watch doubletakes from both wonder and disapproval.
posted by Busithoth at 5:27 AM on July 12, 2008


I wouldn't do this to my own car, but I like this sort of repurposing of ordinary things into something personal. Yes, it's a Doritos car, not a hippy "art car," but it's still unique and different and meant to be looked at. I'm not an art critic, so I'm not sure whether a Doritos car counts as "outsider art" or not, or if it instead belongs with the other brand-appropriations in street fashion. Think of people shaving Nike logos into their hair, or fetishizing sneaker brands, or all the litanies of both luxury and non-luxury brands in rap songs -- the Doritos car fits really comfortably with those appropriations of consumer culture. I can remember seeing kids in villages in Africa who had made their own t-shirts and other things with western logos on them, for example -- is that mindless following or really creative production?

I guess I'd call it "performance art" and enjoy it for what it is -- creative, self-knowingly funny, and a pretty nuanced commentary on contemporary consumer culture. But without being there, seeing it in context, and talking with the people who are doing it, I'm saying this with a lot of uncertainty -- the joke could certainly be on me.

But like Warhol's soup cans, or your favorite band t-shirt (which of course sucks), there is a real ambiguous tension between the act of appropriation of the logo (which may contain a critique of consumer culture and so on) and the act of viewing the logo (which may miss the critique entirely, or misunderstand it, or read it completely differently). This kind of car art, just like lowriders or hippy art cars, comes out of a particular set of traditions, and can appear really different when looked at outside of that context.

It's actually quite recently that lowriders have begun to be taken seriously as artistic and cultural productions and performances, for example, rather than dismissed as low-class, vulgar, and uncritical consumerists. I think a lot of the commenters here are being really fast to dismiss this kind of car art on the same terms, without giving it the respect it is perhaps due.
posted by Forktine at 5:32 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've seen this throughout Mobile, AL as well. Locally, it's nothing to see the Skittles and Corona cars tooling around town.
posted by taschenrechner at 6:25 AM on July 12, 2008


Some young folks are painting/decorating their cars.

I recently saw an old picture of Duane Allman wearing an STP tshirt. He wasn't pimping the oil additive or Stone Temple Pilots...

How about all those "Coca Cola" shirts in the 70s. Soft drink anyone?

Oh, and some young folks are painting/decorating their cars.

Now excuse me, I need to go downtown and find someone wearing a hat in a way of which I highly disapprove.
posted by aiq at 6:35 AM on July 12, 2008


This? This is what happens in monoculture. [...] If anything I see these people as potential victims of a system, or symptoms of an unhealthy cultural ecosystem.

I dunno, loq. The funny thing is that they aren't decorating their cars with Nike or Gucci or other high-end merchandise. Instead, it's breakfast cereals and candies... all fairly common, inexpensive stuff. It's almost like they're trying to find the most ubiquitous product's coat-tails to ride on.

I like what the Cheetos dude said--it's not about being better than your peers, because, hell, who can say if Lucky Charms are better than Cheetos (and who really cares?) It's a lot simpler and less aggressive than that. It's like a sardonic contest to see who can elicit the biggest positive reaction.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:07 AM on July 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


I think it's cool that people are decking out their cars and making them stand out, but it's strange to me that it's not something more personal. I've never really been into brand name logos on personal apparel, but I have tons of shirts I paid for with rock band logos, so I guess it's just a matter of degrees. But if you're gonna do it, I think it's much cooler (and funnier) to go with snack foods than luxury status goods.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:14 AM on July 12, 2008


who can say if Lucky Charms are better than Cheetos

Lucky Charms are better than Cheetos.
posted by everichon at 8:23 AM on July 12, 2008


Tacolby "Tweet" Granger of the 7th Ward said he searched his mind for a product to match his orange Grand Am -- it had to be something different from the 50-or-so sticker cars he's seen around town. Eventually Flamin' Hot Cheetos came to mind.

"This car is hot, I'm hot, everything I do is hot, " he said, adding that "hot" is his own personal slang for anything positive.

When Granger gave me a ride in his Cheetos mobile in late June, we hadn't traveled a city block before a trio of women visiting from Texas charged the car asking for a photo.

"It happens every day, " he said.

If this guy's Flamin' Hot Cheetos car ever got him laid, I'm going back in time to pay a visit to my involuntarily-celibate teenage/university self and showing him/me a copy of this story. Then I/he'll commit suicide and I'll cease to exist.

Also,I never thought I'd encounter a form of auto decoration that made the "peeing Calvin" decal look good by comparison...but here we are.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:31 AM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


pyrex said: Then again, every single car on the road is emblazoned with a logo or two belonging to the manufacturer; i.e. rolling ads.

Every new car I've ever purchased (ok, there's only been 3), I've made the dealer either give me a 2% rebate on the car or take their logo off, fill in the hole and touch up the paint. I won't wear clothes that have obvious branding, and I sure as hell wasn't paying 30k to advertise for someone else. Up with that I will not put! ;)
posted by dejah420 at 11:25 AM on July 12, 2008


A new sort of pop art has sprung up in New Orleans - cars emblazoned with brand names, usually snack foods.

This is missing the point. In New Orleans, it's not just about slapping some brand-name stickers on your car. It's about making your car look like something other than a car.

Johnny Lawson of the Lower 9th Ward, who drives a Lucky Charms-themed Monte Carlo, said the total hood-side-trunk treatment may be unique to New Orleans.

"I've seen it in other cities . . . A lot of people just put stickers on probably their hood or trunk. Down here we do the whole concept. We want the car to look like the box."

posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:30 PM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


(And laugh all you want at the suckers who are paying big money to advertise the products of multi-national conglomerates. Then think back to the mid-80s -- if you can -- and try to remember how much you wanted a Coca-Cola Rugby Shirt of your very own.)

These days, you can buy Pepsi and Pepsi Max eyewear:
"Pepsi eyewear is an impressive collection of funky modern eyewear for 10-16 year olds. Designed to take over from where other kids brands such as Action Man & Barbie finish. This 'in-between' age group is much neglected in the branded and designer eyewear sector and Pepsi easily fills this space. Cool and refreshing, just like the drink itself, we promise Pepsi eyewear will put the sparkle back into wearing glasses!"

Not sure if they are available in Pepsi Blue.
posted by iviken at 1:17 PM on July 12, 2008


This is new? I know of at least one car club comprised entirely of vehicles here in Jacksonville that's been active since '02 or '03. Most of the cars are generally either candy bar or cereal themed.
posted by nulledge at 1:55 PM on July 12, 2008


i like these cars because i think they look cool! (not ironic)
posted by radiosig at 4:52 PM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


And yet there you sit, comfortable in the smugness of your graduate school education, with trigger-finger disdain. David Simon (The Wire) is producing his next show in New Orleans, called Treme. It will be similar to The Wire, and deal with public housing, violence, and people surviving urban blight. Maybe you'll watch it, and nod that yes, you understand poor people. You've seen it on television.

Whatever, these people are stupid, and they're advertising it. They're not above criticism.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:23 PM on July 12, 2008


This is how they sticker their cars in Moscow.
posted by extrabox at 7:25 PM on July 12, 2008


No, this is how it works in Moscow.

Get it?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:40 PM on July 12, 2008


It's been a while since I read a comment on this site as angry as loquacious' comment above – 87 favorites and counting! While the issues are fascinating, this thread appears to have been consumed by emotion.

I don't think anyone here has interviewed the guys in the photos. So, it's likely that we're all making assumptions about the thought process – or lack thereof – that went into these decorations. (We can argue that our assumptions are "deductions" but given the evidence at our disposal – a few choice quotes, skin color, city, the symbols in the artwork, the objects being decorated – that might be a stretch.)

Anyways, community standards being a political thing, I've gone through and favorited every comment that expressed the assumption *I* support. Namely, that these decorations are done in a spirit of playfulness. Perverse playfulness, even.

What's great about our society is that we're free to make our assumptions and -- I'm assuming! -- these cats are free to make art that pisses some people off – and delights others.

The "why" I think we'll have leave for another thread. Third time might be a charm!
posted by noway at 9:21 PM on July 12, 2008


Dammit, no one got my joke.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:58 PM on July 13, 2008


Third time might be a charm!

You mean, third time might be the lucky charm?
posted by humannaire at 1:18 PM on July 13, 2008


Dammit, no one got my joke.

Don't be glum, chum...have some cheerios!
posted by humannaire at 1:20 PM on July 13, 2008


No, CD, we get it. "In Soviet Russia, Car stickers you... "

Clever. :)
posted by Kimothy at 4:01 AM on July 14, 2008


I got it, and would've favorited the joke if it'd been a picture of a guy with a car grill imprinted into his skin by impact (or a tire mark on his face).
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:04 AM on July 15, 2008


People are paying to advertise these brands? Wow

Seems like every day I find an example of our society edging closer and closer to resembling the society in idiocracy.
posted by necessitas at 5:24 PM on July 15, 2008


People are paying to advertise these brands? Wow

on the bright side, at least it involves *some* do-it-yourself spirit, as opposed to paying a premium for an item of clothing just for the privilege of advertising the brand.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:03 PM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


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