I am not a fan of car horns. Sure, I know, they are nothing but inanimate objects designed to prevent accidents and help someone issue a friendly “Hello,” but I’m just not much of a fan.
If car horns were used as they were designed, when only necessary, I wouldn’t mind them at all, but that’s not the case. In fact, I don’t think they’re used much in those cases where they’re needed. I think back to accidents I’ve seen and, more often, heard; I recall the scream of brakes and the crash, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard a horn in that run of sounds.
Concerning the use of a horn to say “hello” to someone, well that’s just foolish. Still, I’m guilty of it; it’s just human nature. We see Joe; we like Joe, and it’s pleasant to see him when we weren’t expecting it. Plus, we have a secret; we see Joe, but he does not see us. We like secrets, but what good is having a secret if you can’t be proud of having a secret? We have to let someone know we have a secret–I know, the irony–so we hit the horn to let Joe know that we see him.
Now this is great; we’ve seen Joe, and we’ve let him know we’ve seen him. In so doing, we have also said, “Hey, Joe, I see you, and I like you enough to say ‘hello.'” Despite what’s in our minds, all Joe hears is “honk” or “toot” or “beep.” He might be silly enough to look around to see if an accident is about to happen.
Usually, all we’ve done by doing that is created a certain amount of wonder and waiting. We wonder if they knew it was us who blew the horn, and Joe wonders if it was someone blowing the horn at them. Nobody’s issue is resolved until the next time we see each other.
Usually, car horns are signs of impatience. I know it’s frustrating when you’re behind someone and they don’t go when it’s time to go. Still, a quick and simple root is enough of a prod to get them going, and not a long drawn out blaring of the horn. Usually, that makes me think that the person pressing it is not a very nice person.
Now, you’re probably wondering what this is all about, and what is is all about is this: when we’re driving and we hear a horn, we’re usually put on our guard. Sometimes we’re even startled and forced into a jerky movement. That being the case, I see absolutely no reason to incorporate the sound of a car horn blowing in a radio commercial. Where do we usually listen to the radio? And what good could it be ever do to put the sound of a car horn in a radio commercial.
Right now I know of three commercials running on our rock radio stations that use the sound, and there I am, tooling down the rosd, working in my mind, oblivious to what the guy is saying on the radio, and then all of the sudden…honk honk.
I’m jerked back into the moment, whipping my head around to see what is about to happen, my hackles raising like I’m about to be broadsided. I’m working up to frantic. And then I realize it’s just the conmmercial on the radio. You can imagine I’m none too pleased.
And there just ain’t no sense in that.
So, if there are any marketing specialists of program directors out there reading, please consider this. Stopping the practice might help someone avoid an accident.
Much love, friends. Hope you have a great week.