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Tire Paradise



Ah, advertising. I've seen this sign before and finally had my camera along today. The sign says "Paradise of Tires." (They probably mean "A Paradise of Tires" for your pleasure, but Czech does not have an equivalent indefinite article so it's impossible to say.) I can't help but wonder how a tire might imagine paradise--would there be clear skies or lots of acrid black smoke, hot weather or cold, cobblestone streets or asphalt? Would there be music?

Sometimes it seems that capitalism hit too fast: everyone wants to sell their products by any means necessary. There are many advertising strategies, most of which lead to the surprising amount of advertising in public space. This is overbearing, though rarely offensive. At least half of the trams in Brno are painted with advertisements--classic trams are red and white, but many are yellow (a travel agency), blue (Tesco), flower-covered (gardens?), and more. In Prague, the beatiful mediaeval tower next to the Mánes gallery has been covered with different advertising banners every time I saw it this fall. (Ironically, it was once a water advertisement on a tower that stands on the banks of the Vltava river.) Advertising banners also hang from the sides of many apartment buildings and even some houses.* Of course, in most cases the apartment blocks are not very inspiring to look at without the advertising so it doesn't really matter; if someone is making a little extra money by renting their building's exterior, so be it. At worst the advertising is disconcerting--for example the ads soliciting "pretty girls" with a "knowledge of English" for internet companies with "foreign clientele"--and at best entertaining.


* These also remind me of the scene in Goodbye, Lenin where the mother sees the Coca-Cola advertising being unfurled on a neighboring apartment block in the former East Berlin. If you are interested in former communist countries and haven't seen this movie, you should.

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