Meet advertising genius and risk taker extraordinare Ryan Laird.
In tomorrow's Mercury, you can read the full story about this Fergus native who's trying to make it big in Nashville. He says he spent his life savings on the above billboard, trying to catch the eye of a certain country diva. He set up the billboard near her office in Nashville, included his myspace address (just click on the photo above to visit his page and hear his tunes for yourself) and wrote a note to Taylor Swift.
Because I am old, the only reaction I had to that news was: "Who?" Though I grew up in the country music belt of Canada, though my parents were raised on Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, though I knew all the words to all the cheesy novelty songs (If you drink, don't drive, do the Watermelon Crawl, y'all), I stopped paying attention to country music the minute I hit high school. I didn't pick it up again until University when I cleaned out my grandpa's record collection. Now, indie country is cool again and "new country" is so mainstream three American Idols went on to become country music singing sensations, which perhaps says less about their talent than it does the mediocre standards of the country music industry.
Anyway, this whole billboard idea turned out to be a brilliant PR move. Of course, Swift either saw the billboard or her people told her to look at it and she did and spoke his name in an interview and said something along the lines of 'it would be cool to maybe work with him." This sent our boy to cloud nine and he's been getting a lot of media exposure for his longshot attempt to get her attention. Here's the Entertainment Tonight Canada piece about Laird's scheme:
That is so crazy, it just might work! Though really, if he wanted to write an authentic love letter to Swift, he would've included the line "check yes or no" on his note.
posted by: Tanis Fowler, firstname.lastname@example.org