Thursday, May 24, 2012

And you thought the golden arches were big

On my way to work this morning, I had just made it through the tangle where Metcalf and I-435 intersect, when my eye was drawn to a towering, red-headed figure off to my left. It was an inflatable Ronald McDonald, rising up from the roof of a newly constructed McDonald's. Oh good, I thought, this will provide a nice distraction for the commuters exiting off I-435 and attempting to merge into traffic.

If this Ronald were concerned that his startling presence might cause accidents, he didn't show it. He smiled guilelessly out at the passing cars, exhibiting not a flicker of doubt that this was his rightful place on the American landscape. It was easy to imagine that he might consider himself belonging in the same club as benevolent national monuments like the Statue of Liberty, beckoning the tired, the hungry, from their teeming shores to his McDonaldland.

As I crawled down Metcalf, the huddled masses crawling alongside me, I found myself thinking that if only the inflatable factory had molded his arms into an outstretched position, his palms upraised, motorists could fancy him a stand-in for the super-sized Jesus that overlooks Rio De Janeiro. But as it was, his right arm had been bent to make it appear he was waving. It was just as well. He's too puffy, too yellow to be a source of inspiration. Too pleased with himself. His lack of self-consciousness by the roadway is galling, but I suppose it's the mark of a great huckster.

The clown thing has worked out well for McDonald's, but if they're going to do roof-top advertising, I think they need a new tack. If causing driving distractions isn't a concern, why not go for something really eye-catching?

Personally, when it comes to inflatables, I think nothing beats a gorilla.



  1. "I think that I shall never see
    A billboard lovely as a tree.
    Indeed, unless the billboards fall
    I'll never see a tree at all."

    -Ogden Nash

  2. i like the one with the bikini top best. as if a 50ft gorilla wasnt absurd enough. love it

  3. there's a fool out here who wants to put floating billboards in Lake Washington and Puget Sound. Various municipalities scrambled to locate the laws or ordinances that would prevent this... for now. I'd rather see a gorilla than a billboard if I had to see anything in the water, but I think gorillas belong on rooftops.

  4. Who allows floating billboards?!!?