Overdrive Extra

Jack Roberts

This space for rent

| September 22, 2012

Like most Southerners, I have a little collection of guns around the house. It’s not an extensive collection, like some of my friends have. I’ve got a few heirloom pieces and the usual workaday guns for hunting.

Over the years, I’ve developed an affinity for Browning firearms. This didn’t happen overnight. But every Browning I’ve ever bought has performed well, is extremely well designed and durable out in the field. Even better, I like the quality: Brownings are, in my opinion, top marque firearms — but you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to own one.

All that said, I do not have a Browning sticker anywhere on my personal pickup truck. For that matter, I don’t have any advertisement for any product on my personal vehicle. There is a small Alabama Crimson Tide “Script A” on my left rear bumper. My buddy — whom I bought the truck from — put it on there. He knows I’m not a fan of bumper stickers or advertisement stickers and told me he’d sell me the truck if I agreed to keep the Alabama sticker on there. He was kidding. But I’m a third-generation Alabama alumn, so it wasn’t a hard sell.

Personalization has always been a powerful human trait. We like people we meet — even strangers — to know something about us at a glance. That’s why cavemen ran around with bear skulls on their heads, which is pretty powerful messaging, if you think about it: That guy killed a bear. Let’s go steal food from somebody else! 

American Indians did basically the same thing with war paint. And it’s the whole premise behind modern military uniforms. It’s not a whole lot different when I put on a Rolling Stones or Guns ‘n Roses t-shirt.

And it’s the same thing today with cars and trucks around the world. All humans — not just Americans — love to personalize their vehicles. And I’m all for it: I love to see the little flashes and individual touches we all put on our cars and trucks, anything from my little Crimson Tide sticker up to wild flame jobs on a long-nosed Pete.

But I don’t understand the advertisement thing. I really don’t. I see a lot of Browning window stickers down here in the South. Sometimes I wonder if the person driving the truck actually uses Browning firearms — or if they just like the cool buck deer silhouette because it tells everyone they’re a hunter.

But you also see a lot of Costa del Mar sunglasses stickers. And, increasingly, Yeti cooler stickers. I really like Costa sunglasses. And, from what I understand, Yeti coolers do a jam-up job — even on swelteringly hot Alabama summer days. But why in the world these people feel compelled to tell the entire world their preference in eyewear and portable beverage refrigeration systems mystifies me. And I see these stickers — and others like them — everywhere. There just can’t be that many Costa del Mar, Yeti Cooler and Mossy Oak camouflage sales reps out there driving around.

But man — the companies we’re talking about here must love this trend. Think about it, they print up these window stickers, sell them to consumers for a ridiculous mark-up, and then enjoy the benefits of a ton of absolutely free advertising!

No. Wait. Scratch that! It’s not even free advertising! These people paid the manufacturers money for the privilege of advertising for them! Talk about laughing all the way to the bank!