It’s a Thin Line Between “Awesome” and “Awful”: Bad Ad Campaigns Part II

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Every time I drive home from Hollywood through Laurel Canyon, I pass this billboard on Ventura Boulevard that proclaims “AWESOMETOWN: New homes from $200,000.” with pictures of happy running children, a tract home, and a sterile building. And every time I think “Really? Are you serious?” I mean, I understand that “ALL YOU CAN AFFORDTOWN” isn’t a great ad campaign, but AWESOMETOWN?  Forgive me Valencians, but you can’t actually believe this about where you live. What I wonder is this: have the ad people have ever actually been to Valencia? And further: do they believe that Valencia is “awesome” or are they attempting to perpetrate a fraud on the rest of us?

I’ll grant Valencia is home to Cal Arts and Magic Mountain, but apart from those two draws, relative to oh, just about anywhere else in LA County, I’d hardly characterize it as “awesome,” I mean, unless white people, malls, and a town frighteningly evocative of the Truman Show is “awesome” in your book. I’ve always felt like one of the joys of Los Angeles is its messy unplanned nature. The freeway system, viewed from above, looks like a tangle of string or pasta. In any given strip mall you can buy pinatas, shop for Armenian groceries, get a pedicure and have a doughnut, and never have to utter a word of English. LA is random, untidy, and by turns charming and ridiculous. Valencia, on the other hand, is sanitized and sterile. It always makes me feel like I’m in biosphere or Logan’s Run. If I’m there for any period of time, I have to double check my palm to make sure that I don’t have a stone turning black set in the middle of it. I know “I CAN’T WAIT TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERETOWN” doesn’t scan very well, but who are you trying to sell houses to by billing yourself this way, Valencia? Twelve year-olds?

23 thoughts on “It’s a Thin Line Between “Awesome” and “Awful”: Bad Ad Campaigns Part II”

  1. “LA is random, untidy, and by turns charming and ridiculous.” <– my favorite part.

  2. C’mon now, its not that bad! The Metrolink can take you from Valencia to downtown L.A. in less than an hour and a half.

  3. If it’s Biosphere, Stephen Baldwin might live there, but definitely not Pauly Shore.

  4. Absolutely right. I mean, who would want to live in a nice, safe, clean community where they could raise a family, work without commuting for hours and play wihtout having to deal with hollywood/west side-like douche bags?

    Awesome?!?! No way! How about just plain horrible. No other way to describe it.

  5. The only thing “Awesome” about Valencia is the breadth of Lennar’s presumptuous, venaity and aggressiveness in destroying the natural environment at the edges of the City of Santa Clarita.

    Tearing down entire mature oak tree forests to build McMansions on neatly flattened small lots is not Awesome. It’s beyond disgusting.

  6. Newhall Land which built Valencia came up with this campaign. This campaign is a desperate attempt to unload a ton of houses so they can focus on the new city they are building. Trust me it is a corny joke here too.

  7. Kip, if “nice, safe, and clean” were my top three criteria for where to live, LA county in general would get a pass for me. Iowa, on the other hand, that might be just the ticket.

  8. “I CAN’T WAIT TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERETOWN” is its true name for any sane person… especially the 18 -35ers

  9. When you grow up in the bubble, you want to leave it.
    You leave it, experience and enjoy life outside the bubble, then you make your way back.

    Lay off Valencia. Like Thousand Oaks, most of Orange County and bubbles all across America, it’s refuge for families looking for safe place to live with great schools.

  10. I see life in LA has done you a lot of good, filling your mind and writing with sadly out-dated movie references, over-used suburban cliches, and the inability to punctuate correctly (“Twelve year-olds” means a dozen infants; “Twelve-year-olds” means almost-teenagers who say “awesome” a lot). I will, however, congratulate on “All I Can Afford Town,” which is a well-expressed idea.

  11. Yep I am a renter in Awesometown (can’t afford to buy a house and I don’t blame the man for that), and when the campaign first came out we made a bunch of jokes, cause it is pretty silly. However living here is pretty damn awesome, safe, plenty of friendly people who smile and wave (shocker alert! there is a mix of races) when you pass them on the tree-lined paseos that run behind our homes.
    I lived in Studio City for a bit, in a nice neighborhood over by CBS and gosh I so much miss the creepy guys eyeing me as I entered the Ralphs (and oh the cat calls and “hey baby” how I miss you too), the worry of if my car was going to be broken into because I parked on the street, and most of all I miss never being able to find a place to park unless I pay someone to park it. Sure crime happens everywhere because people (not cities) just suck, but in my time in Awesometown has been, well Awesome! So sorry you hate the billboard, its obviously not for you, you can keep on living in your “random, untidy” town and I won’t knock you for it.

  12. Effective. Ad campaign does its job: by getting people talking. Clearly Valencia is not a place for young single folks, as evidenced by this blog and comments. For families seeking a safe place to raise kids, pathways to ride bikes and not collide with cars, top schools, true neighbors, etc. It’s Valencia.

  13. Look the marketing campaign is silly, but most are. This is not what the town has named itself it is what a developer has used as a marketing campaign to generate interest in their homes in a recession.

    Frankly though, this ad is no more silly and juvenile than your overly generalized characterizations of our community which I would bet actual money you have never spent any real time in. I am guessing that the extent of your Valencia experience is driving past it on the 5.

    This is a good community, not nearly as sanitized as you make it out to be, although it does not have that charming “Urine after a rain storm” smell, and I assure you I have no problem purchasing pinatas.

    The nice thing is that it feels like a community, with its flaws and positives all mixed into one AND it is a short drive to all the rest that L.A. has to offer with generally better schools and a little more wide open space. There are reasons to live in L.A. but that doesn’t fit everybody either.

    Again though, the worst part about your post is how stereotypically off it is in its description and no more true than the label of Awesometown, you are just as guilty of attempting to perpetrate a fraud with your description as the marketers are with theirs.

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