CHARLOTTE, NC (Théoden Janes/The Charlotte Observer) - At a quick glance, the words on the big red billboard on Independence Boulevard just look like a bunch of gibberish.
But next time you're driving in those crowded eastbound lanes headed away from uptown, and you pass Bojangles' Coliseum, look at them again: "ishway ouyay ereway erehay."
Yes, that's Pig Latin – the made-up language many of us learned when we were kids – and, yes, those yellow jumbles of letters therefore translate to "wish you were here."
There's no other typography on the sign at all. No URL, no ultra-fine print, nothing ...
... except for the "Adams" nameplate directly below the billboard itself. That'd be short for Adams Outdoor Advertising, and this would be the Charlotte-based company's much more creative version of the old "Your Ad Here" billboard.
In fact, the Independence Boulevard sign is one of seven in highly trafficked areas that came available late last year and currently are plastered with the phrase "wish you were here" – in seven different languages.
The other six billboards are all along interstates in and around Charlotte. There's one in English, one in French ("J'aimerais que tu sois ici"), one in Russian, one in Korean, one in Dutch ("Wou dat je hier was"), one in Spanish ("Querría que estés aquí"), and finally, the one in Pig Latin – which Adams sales manager John Searby says they created "because we thought it would be funny."
Since the campaign launched on Jan. 2, Searby says his office has fielded several calls from businesses reacting to it; two of the billboards are now under contract.
Oh, and if you're interested, it'll cost upwards of $4,000 to take over one of those billboards for one month, with prices decreasing as contracts get longer.