Skip to comments.Bumper stickers are funny, political and weird -- and growing more rare
Posted on 05/02/2009 2:33:25 PM PDT by JoeProBono
For decades, drivers have used their bumpers as moving billboards. Bumper stickers show our political leanings, our religious affiliations, where we've vacationed and what type of dogs we have. They offer a glimpse into a driver's sense of humor (Just say no to negativity) or sense of injustice (I had a life, but my job ate it).
Historians believe that Forest P. Gill, a Kansas City-area printer, invented the bumper sticker in the 1930s. Gill began experimenting with attaching advertisements to car bumpers with wire, and eventually began working with self-sticking adhesive. The idea took hold, the stickers stuck, and by the time the Gill-line company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1984 it had produced more than 1 billion bumper stickers.
The way that bumper stickers can both enlighten and enrage is what drew Paul Rosa into the industry nearly two decades ago. In the early 1990s, Rosa was a stand-up comedian who spent a lot of time on the road. As he drove hundreds of miles, he began to be irked by a particularly popular bumper sticker.
"It said, 'I'm proud of my honor student,'" Rosa says. "It was harmless enough, but a little annoying, people bragging about their kids to strangers on the highway. I decided to design my own bumper sticker that said, 'My kid beat up your honor student.'"
Rosa began selling the stickers after his comedy shows. "I ended up making almost as much money selling those stickers as I did performing," he says. Buoyed by the popularity of the bumper stickers, Rosa started his company and still operates New York-based Idiot Ink.
Rosa has sold more than 1.8 million bumper stickers, many through major retail chains. But in recent years, Rosa's business and the bumper sticker industry in general have been in decline. The stickers just aren't as prevalent as they were when Rosa's first pithy plays on words were pasted on cars around the country.
What's the reason for the demise of bumper stickers? Rosa believes it's a generational shift. "There is less rebellion than there was 35 or 40 years ago. There are fewer causes for rage -- gay rights and civil rights and women's rights have all advanced. There's no draft."
Rosa believes people are also more wary of displaying their political or social views on their bumpers. "People tell me they are worried about being vandalized by somebody who doesn't agree with their stickers."
And with the average sale price of a new car approaching $30,000, consumers are more reluctant to decorate with stickers.
"We see more bumper stickers on the less-expensive cars," says David Williams, general manager of Empire Lakewood Nissan in the Denver area. "We see very few on the more expensive models."
That doesn't mean car owners have been completely silenced. Williams says he has noticed more stickers taped to car windows, along with magnetic stickers and personalized license plates.
"People are still expressing themselves, just in different ways," he says.
My (asshole) neighbor has one that reads: “Friends don’t let friends vote Republican”. I want to slap one next to it that says: “Real friends don’t tell you how to vote.”
People don’t want their cars keyed by tolerant democreeps.
More and more people over here are prefering the chains of slavery to the responsiblity of freedom each day. They prefer living as slaves rather than free people. The Democrats will be more than happy to accomodate them.
The precise reason why I don't do the bumper sticker thing. Too many immature idiots that will gladly cause $100s in damage because they don't like your bumper sticker.
Do they put bumper stickers on their cars in Europe?
“My girl friend was honor slave of the month
at Mistress Dominica’s house of submission.”
Probably the decline is related to the fact that
cars today don’t have bumpers per say, they are designed
to be part of the body work and are often not chrome but
the same color as the body.
I never understood the concept of paying thousands - or tens of thousands - of dollars on something and then slapping some $1.50 sticker on it.
"BACK OFF -- MARTIN GUITAR IN TRUNK"
Nonetheless the stack remained unsold ... who would want to put that on their car ??? Its like an advertisement to "PLEASE, STEAL ME" ... although the bumper stickers didn't come complete with a crowbar ... /laughs
No decline around local college campuses. I pass several DWI (Driving While Indoctrinated) cars daily. Usually sickly looking females in a dirty, small Japanese car with no hubcaps from curb rash and a dinged up rear bumper. Poor visuospatial skills, I suppose. Are they showing disdain for evil cars, or unintentionally confirming a sexist stereotype, lol?
Mixed in with the usual unhinged Bush-hatred and slavish Obama adoration stickers, you’ll usually see “My Other Car Is A Broom” and a stupid Darwin fish with legs. If she’s really hard-bitten, it’ll have horns and Satan instead.
As far as any “decline,” it might just be in sales of ready-made bumper stickers. You can make them yourself fairly easily now, and many sites have ready-made, downloadable graphics for them.
Love it!!! OOOhRRAAHHH!
My all time favorite:
If you smoke after sex, you’re doing it too fast.
I have a stack of ones I had made up.
They say, “Hey Lefty, Freed Tibet Yet?”
I put them on lefty cars. One time I went to mid town Manhattan. Went though 20 in an hour.
I’m thinking of having ones made that say, “Obama Is My God and I Am His Slave”. Put them on lefty cars.
I’ve never understood the idea of paying tens of thousands for a tool that can be bought for a few thousand.
That doesn’t take a bumper sticker.
I had one of my employees, a white guy married to a black gal, call me racist a while back because I wasn’t in love with Bozo. I very firmly reminded him, I didn’t hate Bozo because of his color, but because he’s a damned socialist.
People don’t want their car keyed by intolerant Dems...this is exactly why I do not place bumper stickers on my car. The adherents of the party of love, tolerance and justice are pretty thin-skinned when their dogma is challenged...meanwhile most conservatives respect the private property of others far too much to key the cars of idiots.
On my truck “My horse bucked off your honor student”
I won’t put political stickers on my vehicles. Too many nasty liberal vandals near here. Not worth the risk. I got a long, down to the metal keymark on my car 2 years ago, cost 600 bucks to fix. Mean mean liberals. They like abortion, so way would criminal property damage bother their non-existent consciences?
In response to the ultra liberal, air-headed, “Imagine World Peace”, I really liked the bumper-sticker rejoinder “Imagine... using your turn signal.”
One of the libtards down the road from me kept his huge homemade plywood and t-post Obama-Biden yard sign up for months after the election. He just took it down a couple weeks ago. There are still small yard signs up around here and lots and lots of bumperstickers on their little clown cars. I find pointing and laughing at them from the seat of my Silverado to be fun.
Personally, I like:
“Visualize Whirled Peas”
That’s it! Exactly!
>>>People dont want their cars keyed by tolerant democreeps.
More to the point I spend too much on a car to mess it up on my own initiative. I’d no more plaster my own car with bumper stickers then I would disfigure myself with a tattoo. Same principle.
I got a red x
Years ago I had a station wagon and taped to the inside of the rear window was a sign that said “Indict Lon Houriushi” I don’t think I ever met anyone that had any idea of what I was referencing. That made me rethink my attitude on “bumper stickers” well that and the fact that even though I’m 51 years old my 75 year old Dad would STILL kick my butt if I put a bumper sticker on my car!
Horiyoshi III, my tattoo artist
As for me, I had a couple of stickers made up since I figure as a Conservative I have nothing to lose. They are bright yellow with red lettering.
ANTI-OBAMUNIST ON BOARD and OBAMUNISM, THE FATAL CURE FOR BUSH DERANGEMENT SYNDROME.
The ANTI sticker is on my car right now, next to my Stag Arms sticker (The makers of my AR-15).
So far no problem. I am adding the classic One Big Ass Mistake America line to the ANTI sticker just to piss the Obamanuts off. I'm done worrying about hurt feelings or idiots that think I somehow have no freedom of speech because I disagree with their Halfrican American Messiah.
If I catch anyone trying to damage my car, they will pay for their action and I will insist that they be charged with a Hate Crime. Play the game they play. No more Mr. Nice Guy for me.
I would never think of damaging a vehicle with an F**k Bush sticker, and I have seen a few of them. Liberals are and will always be Malcontents, whether they win or lose.
I love that one!
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