Stuck On You: America’s Bumper Sticker Obsession
You’ve been down this road before. You’re rolling through rush hour at a snail’s pace. To pass the time, you start assessing the other cars around you and you are suddenly faced with knowing whose kids are on the honor roll, whose kids are going to beat up the honor roll kids and every religious and political persuasion with whom you happen to be sharing the road . Not to mention what people want you to brake for and honk at.
Those ubiquitous bumper stickers paint quite an entertaining landscape. Everything from the official to the downright bizarre are deemed important enough to be plastered onto our cars. Literally. Some make you laugh and some make you cringe, but hey, it’s America, we’re all about freedom of expression. And nothing illustrates this better than the bumper sticker.
Bumper Sticker Fun Facts
- The first bumper stickers appeared shortly before World War II. They were flag-like, and attached to the bumper by wires. Word has it, someone named Forest P. Gill replaced the wire attachments with pressure sensitive adhesive, and as a result bumper stickers became more widespread and practical.
- Advertising bumper stickers began with “See Rock City” signs, touting a tourist attraction atop Lookout Mountain,Tennessee. In the 1940s, visitors to the site had a sticker applied to their car, which duplicated the famous signs painted on the roofs of barns throughout the southeastern USA. Rock City staff would circulate through the parking lot, applying the promotional sticker to every car. Although called “stickers,” these bumper signs were actually lightweight, screen-printed cardboard. They were attached with thin aluminum strips, running through the end of the sign and wrapping around the bumper.
- In Israel, one of the most popular songs of all time is Shirat Hasticker (“The Sticker Song”) by Hadag Nachash, a song composed entirely of bumper sticker slogans.
- In 2009, the Guinness Book of World Records certified that Bill T. Heermann of Lincoln, Nebraska had the Largest Collection of Bumper Stickers. Since 1984, Heermann had collected over 4,131 bumper stickers.
- If you want to look like the ultimate bumper sticker collector, Zazzle.com offers the most expensive bumper sticker in the world. At $355 the sticker states “This is the MOST EXPENSIVE Bumper Sticker In The WORLD.” Discounts are given, however, for buying in bulk.