AS REPORTED IN REMODELING MAGAZINE, MAY 1995
was stuck in traffic last year thinking about some marketing postcards we were
developing," recalls Sylvain Côté, "when I thought: Why not print a postcard
on a van?"
Why not? Côté--who is president of Absolute Remodeling, a Yorktown Heights, NY.,
design/build firm--appropriated the slogan, "Lie, Cheat & Steal" from
REMODELING and posted it on his van because it was sure to turn some heads. (The phrase
was coined by architect Mark McInturff to describe open space designs. See REMODELING,
Isn't Côté worried about folks neglecting to read the small print and driving
away with the wrong impression? "No," he says, emphatically. "Those are the
people to keep away from. Smart people get the picture right away."
The van has, indeed, captured a lot of attention. "Since the first day we
headed out in it we've gotten calls from people who saw us and want to know more about
us." Côté's most recent brainstorm makes those phone calls even easier. Before each
trip, the driver attaches a handful of magnetic business cards to the van's fender,
beneath a sign that says, "Go ahead, grab one." Callers receive a glossy press
The van hasn't been on the road long enough to measure its success in netted jobs,
but the response rate has been so encouraging Côté has decided to transform two more
vans into moving billboards. He's already got one of the messages planned: "One
of your neighbors is having a facelift." But even Côté admits there are limits to
provocative advertising. "I was considering a headline that said, 'One of your
neighbors is being ripped off,'" says Côté. "Then I decided that was just
going too far."