When it comes to advertising, nothing quite matches the impact of a brilliant billboard. A striking, traffic-stopping design can long stick in the memory. But then again, so can a terrible one.
One of the most iconic pieces of feminist graffiti has resurfaced on Reddit, and it's garnering two reactions – shock that the billboard it defaces was created in the first place, and awe at the withering retort. (For some less tone-deaf examples, check out the best billboards of all time.)
The billboard in question shows a picture of a Fiat 127, and proudly proclaims, 'If it were a lady, it would get its bottom pinched.' No, we can't believe it either. Adding to the overall sleaze factor is the fact that the aesthetic style is somewhat restrained (dare we even say 'classy'?) with its monochrome visuals and bold, sans-serif text.
But the ad is arguably much, much better with the added graffiti, which retorts, 'If this lady were a car she'd run you down.' While we're hardly advocating Fiat-related violence, it's hard not to agree with the non-literal message: that slogan is not on.
According to Glasgow Women's Library (opens in new tab), the photo was taken in London by Jill Posener in 1979. And it led her iconic 1982 photobook 'Spray it Loud', a collection of images of graffiti with political, feminist, lesbian, and anti-consumerist themes. Of the Fiat at, Posener writes, "This ad was opposite my place of work. I had to stare at it out of the window. A colleague and I went out and added the graffiti. You can see that there are two handwritings! It was a way of taking over the poster. By writing angry but humorous graffiti, we were also making the point that ad agencies don’t have the monopoly on wit."
And here and now in 2022, Redditors are balking at the ad. "Jesus Fiat, what were you thinking, on all levels?" one user comments, while another adds, "Why would they run ad copy so blatantly sexist, but then allow that much blank space below it? It's almost irresponsible not to spray on a response." Indeed, it might be one of the simplest pieces of graffiti ever, but it's so effective that it arguably deserves a place in our roundup of the best street art ever.