Neil Miller from Realbeer and the Society for Beer Advocates (SOBA) reviews the second book of Tui Billboards, this one titled “Yeah right, again.” (This review originally appeared in Salient.)
Using the very simplest of formats, the Tui “Yeah, Right” billboards have reached iconic status in New Zealand because of their constantly changing and always slightly skewed take on New Zealand life and current events.
The second tome in this series gathers together over a hundred of the best billboards from recent years. As you would expect in a book about billboards, there is not a lot of text and it only takes about 15 minutes to read. The good news is that it is 15 minutes well spent.
For me, the topical billboards are the cleverest. These range from the political (“Changing the law makes it ok”), to the cultural (“NZ Idol: Ticket to stardom”) and the gastronomic (“Honestly, it was the same wine”).
Tui plays it safe and has a footnote explaining the context of the topical billboards. After all, “One cable should do the trick” is not particularly funny unless you know it is mocking Aucklanders stuck in the dark.
Other slogans will ensure you never look at everyday items the same way again. The hook here is that you suddenly realise how often you see these signs (“We apologize for the inconvenience”) and those emails (“FW: This is so funny”).
Finally, the clever people at Tui show a self awareness about their own publicity efforts with a number of billboards lampooning themselves: “I came on the tour to see how the beer’s made,” “We don’t sponsor rugby to sell beer,” and “Waiter, how many carbs are in this jug?”
Sure there are a few clichés in there (I don’t need a map, I never get lost”) and a couple of tired male/female stereotypes (“Here honey, you have the remote”) but overall, the words to laughs ratio is very high.
I’m sure this will be the last book in the series. Yeah, right