Kate says exactly what I was feeling. Puma and the Volvo Ocean Racing series have a Station Domination campaign up in Park Street Station, and it’s all “Habah” and “Stopovah” and “Dance Floah.”
It’s trite. It’s been done. It’s kind of insulting. And it’s definitely counterproductive.
Probably fewer than 20% of the people who walk through that station have a “Boston accent.” Those that do would probably tell you there’s more than one regional accent, and none of the variations is well-represented by just replacing “R” with “AH” in a billboard. Even if they did write it accurately, it’s pretty condescending. You wouldn’t try to reach the urban market with a half-assed parody of hip-hop slang, would you? Wait, don’t answer that. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Boost Mobile).
Most importantly, it’s an ad that just won’t work. It marks the advertiser as an outsider desperate to fit in, as a tourist, as an out-of-towner. You might as well walk the Freedom Trail in khaki shorts, sandals with socks, a tricorner hat and a t-shirt with a lobster on it. That’s definitely not the image Puma wants, but it’s what they’re getting.
Seriously, if you’re going to spend that much money on a media buy, why waste it with an idea that’s so bad on so many different levels?