Shall Charter Ordinance 216 entitled: ‘A charter ordinance amending and repealing Section 1 of Charter Ordinance No. 213, of the city of Wichita, Kansas, which amended and repealed Section 1 of Charter Ordinance No. 183 of the city of Wichita which amended and repealed Section 1 of Charter Ordinance No. 174 of the city of Wichita, Kansas, pertaining to the application of revenues from the transient guest tax’ take effect?

Actual text on the ballot in Wichita, Kansas

Why Netflix Never Implemented The Algorithm That Won The Netflix $1 Million Challenge

And, people tend to have a more… optimistic viewpoint of their future selves. That is, they may be willing to rent, say, an “artsy” movie that won’t show up for a few days, feeling that they’ll be in the mood to watch it a few days (weeks?) in the future, knowing they’re not in the mood immediately. But when the choice is immediate, they deal with their present selves, and that choice can be quite different.

This is a fascinating phenomena, and it happens in many other contexts, not just our movie watching habits. Even if we wouldn’t make the “better choice” today, we tend to have faith that our future self would make the better choice.

Tidy Cats billboard

Tidy Cats' OTR BillboardThis weekend, several few people started complaining about the Tidy Cats billboard pictured above, located in Clifton Heights. The billboard reads, “You’re so over Over-The-Rhine,” and contains the hashtag #lifestinks and the URL

I wasn’t even sure what the billboard was trying to imply at first — not a good sign for an advertising campaign. Some quick searching found similar ads in other cities, many with the simple slogan, “Life stinks? We can help.” Others included more localized slogans. An ad in the New York City subway read, “That cute girl across from you is wearing a Boston cap.”

So, Tidy Cats is trying to mock things that “stink”. Like used cat litter. But instead of sticking to the friendly bashing of opposing sports teams, they took it a step too far: the decided to bash a neighborhood in the city of Cincinnati. A neighborhood where people live, people work, and people visit.

It would be interesting to know who came up with this particular billboard. Was it someone in Cincinnati, playing off of stereotypes and clueless about the OTR of today? Or was it someone in another city, trying to find a Cincinnati neighborhood that would be “safe” to bash?

Just for the record: The Over-the-Rhine of today is a safe place with a number of thriving small businesses, restaurants, entertainment options, an arts community, and a diverse mix of residents. A beautiful new 8 acre park is about to open. It’s experienced such a revitalization that there are virtually no apartments available for rent in the neighborhood. As food blogger Julie Niesen Gosdin put it, a more accurate billboard would have read, “I’m over the 2-hour waits for a table at a restaurant in OTR.”

Fortunately, Tidy Cats saw the error in their ways and went into damage control mode. They claim they will take “swift action to correct this”, presumably taking the billboard down.

What should advertisers take away from this? It’s not okay to bash any neighborhood in your advertising, be it Over-the-Rhine, Oakley, Sharonville, or Milford. It’s not okay to buy in to decade-old stereotypes that no longer hold true. And, please, stop trying to be so “edgy” when you are selling a basic product like cat litter — it’s not worth the chance that you’ll isolate a portion of your potential customers.

Update: The Enquirer quoted me in their coverage of the billboard.

(Photo via wtfcincy.)