One of the original “Jerks My Chicken” ads from TABIA, from last fall. Photo by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.
TABIA (the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas) is about to introduce a second round of double entendre–laden transit shelter ads like the ones they started putting up last fall. (Remember “My Neighbour Jerks My Chicken?” How could you forget?) This time, they’re soliciting headline ideas from the public. And they’re giving away prizes for the best ones.
The contest, which was announced on February 3 and will end this Sunday, February 28, requires participants to enter using an online form. Entrants submit a headline, along with a specific local business to which the headline relates. (The original “Jerk My Chicken” ad depicted Ed Pottinger, owner of West Indian restaurant The Real Jerk, of the Riverside BIA.)
The possibilities are staggering. Vietnamese eateries alone are a potential goldmine. Imagine all the weird stuff your neighbour could be doing with your noodle. And, more to the point, imagine all the easy Torontoist posts that might come out of this thing. Strange and borderline-inappropriate advertising is our bread and butter around here. Not doing your part to ensure the continuing presence of sexual innuendo on our city’s transit shelters is like stealing our wallets.
John Kiru, TABIA’s executive director, confirmed that the campaign was designed, in part, to capitalize on social media’s obsession with so-called “badvertising.”
“The original proved to be very successful, sort of viral,” he said, during a phone call. “We were getting pings in from Denver, Colorado, and Italy, and so on.”
There are three grand prizes, which consist of packages of gift certificates to local restaurants, entertainment venues, and hotels.
But even though there are only three grand prizes, the number of entries that will actually be printed up and displayed on transit shelters is twenty—which is, well, a lot. The ads will also be displayed on subway cars, and are expected to start appearing in March and April.
Even if you don’t win any gift certificates from TABIA, if your awkward headline idea gets turned into a real ad, there’s a pretty good chance it will be immortalized (ephemeralized?) on Torontoist. Though we do reserve the right to forget all about this if something genuinely newsworthy happens on the day, or if a pigeon does something cute.