Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bumper Sticker Society Needs Silence

This may sound strange coming from a marketing person but I think bumper stickers are not only dumb, but useless.

Perhaps you feel that way too.  I just wonder why so many people drive their car around like it were their Facebook page, listing all of their affiliations and views as if anyone cared.  Is the bumper sticker supposed to convert someone to your way of thinking? 

“Oh, who should I vote for president?  Maybe a stranger’s bumper sticker can give me great insight.”

Should the bumper sticker warrant praise?  Oh, your kid goes to Harvard? How nice. Let me stop you at the next light to tell you I love your school?  Or do I look at you with envy and jealousy?

Or what if your bumper sticker supports a competing sports team?  Should I tell you “screw you” at the next red light?

It seems like bumper stickers should be phased out but the truth is we live in a tattoo society – literally.  Everyone wears their life on their sleeve – or skin.  People feel like they have to tell everyone --all the time --what they like, what they did, and what they believe in, and who they support.  They tweet it.  They blog it.  They post it on FB.  Is my blog guilty of that as well? Perhaps.

We wear T-shirts, post signs, showcase bumper stickers, get tattoos, and do whatever we can to call attention to ourselves and all the things we stand for.  We are walking billboards.

It seems arrogant, self-centered, and bullying in certain respects.  Why do people feel compelled to publicly declare, often and always, as to what they think, like or just did?

I need a bumper sticker that sums up my view of all this public “advertising”:  WHO CARES?

Interview With Author & Photographer Dale Ryan

Dale  Ryan recently wrote a beautiful coffee-table book,   Sleeping With The Beast, which features photos and essays showcasing how our dogs have become such  treasured family members. She should know – she shares her bed with her husband – and five dogs! Here is an interview with her:

1.      Dale, what inspired you to write Sleeping With The Beast? The inspiration came from two places. The first was sitting in a tavern in the Cotswold’s, observing people and their dogs lounging about. This is not your typical American scene. At the same time, I was remodeling /renovating an entire farm. I had to take a pragmatic approach, which required careful examination of all our needs, whether two legged or four legged.

2.      What are the challenges to sleeping with five dogs and your husband on one bed? The biggest challenge is finding enough space and the fact my husband refuses to sleep on the sofa. LOL

3.      Having owned about 15 dogs over the years, please tell us why we love dogs so much? Dogs have unconditional love, while humans; have a tendency to place many expectations on their relationships.

4.      Are there drawbacks to owning so many dogs? Like all families, the larger the brood, the more challenging it is to meet all their needs. Incidentally, as time goes by, I dislike using the phrase  “dog owner,” I would much rather use “custodian” or “caretaker.”

5.      What is dinner time like in your house? It is a very disciplined process to feed a pack of dogs. Without careful planning (especially if you give meds with foods), your kitchen can become quite chaotic. I enjoy cooking for them.

6.      What is it about dogs that we cannot live without them? They remind us to be empathetic towards the world.

7.      How should one decorate their house with dogs in mind? I have a chapter in my book entitled “Decorating with Dogs,” which addresses this issue.  Whether you are decorating your public rooms to the hilt or just your private bath, decorating a house around dogs is a challenge. With careful planning your home can be both beautiful and easy to maintain.

8.      You write that you noticed at a young age that “nature and its beastly inhabitants were far more interesting than most people who surrounded me.” Why do we sometimes prefer canine companions to fellow humans? Firstly, nature is so provocative on its own terms and especially through a child’s eyes. As we grow up, people around us demand a different form of attention.
9.      Some people keep the bedroom off limits to their four-legged friends. Can the dogs interrupt your ability to be intimate with your husband? Of course, one’s first instinct would be to shut the dogs out of the bedroom during intimate moments. But there may be no need for that, as the dogs curiosity will wane and they will find their own amusement elsewhere.

10.  How should we allow our dogs to be beastly? Dogs love to rumble and tumble and be themselves. Dogs are aggressive with each other and one always wants to be the alpha dog. 

11.  What advice do you have for the grieving process when a pet dies? One of the reasons losing a beloved dog is so sorrowful is because their love for us is unconditional and we are so needful of it. As far as the grieving process is concerned, it is unavoidable and painful. Grieving is a natural process and it takes time for one to heal.

12.  What provisions should a dog owner make for their pets should their dog outlive them? It is important to make provisions for the care of your best friend. Always ask family member or friend if they would be willing to be the custodian for your dog, in the event of your own passing. Also, when possible, make financial provisions for the caretaking of your dog.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. Dale Ryan is a client of the PR firm I work for. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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