Edmontons most confusing billboard: A love story.

To the dozens of people that follow my posts on the Purevision blog religiously, I’m sorry but today’s post will not be Demystifying Photo Techniques:HDR: Part 2: The Tutorialing, but in fact a more compelling story of how true love can blossom even in the harshest of environments. Or it’s going to be the ramblings of a madman over-analyzing and trying to make sense of a trivial billboard in the middle of Edmonton’s Northend.  I haven’t quite decided yet.

Anyways, during my quinquennial trip to the doctor this week, I happened upon a most unusual sight. Now I like to think that I’m pretty familiar with the billboards that are posted around our fair city. There’s the Terry Paranych victory board, the usual saucy Ranch billboard, and a whole whack of radio stations trying to prove their worth in an era of iPods and Sirius.  This one however, caught me off guard.

I had to turn around to snap a photo of it to prove to myself it was real.  The people behind me didn’t appreciate my sudden e-brake u-turn in the middle of the street, but that’s why we all have insurance right?

It's OK! It's for my work's blog!

I stood there staring at this billboard for what seemed like seconds, (probably because it was). I had so many questions for the owner, firstly:


How do you think this girl is going to contact you?

There is a HUGE assumption of wealth here. Just because Rupert over here

Rupert seems like the name of a guy that would buy a billboard instead of posting an ad on Craigslist. Also, ascot.

can afford to rent out a billboard for a girl he saw at the LRT station, doesn’t mean she can afford to write one back.  He didn’t leave any contact info on the billboard for her to respond to.  That seems like pretty shoddy planning on his part.  The fact that he saw this girl on public transit probably means she doesn’t have $2000 to drop on a response billboard. I get it, Rupert doesn’t want to give out the digits to his gold-plated iPhone to every Jane Doe about town, he’s interested in Red Scarf Girl, and that’s it!  As long as she’s rich.


What’s going to happen if she does post a response billboard?

Maybe I’m being too cynical. This could be the greatest love story of our time! It could eventually be turned into a movie starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts and have one of those trendy ambiguous names.

"I know you have more important work than making fake movie posters. Come see me in my office later." - Editor

These two people, living in the same city, willing to display their love in the most public of settings, will destiny ever bring them together?  Sorry, sidetracked, back to my original question, what if she does post a response?  How well is that going to go?

Then they're going to have to decide where and when, and she won't like French food and... This is going to be expensive.

The $2000 might be least of her worries, which brings me to my next question,


How does he know she’s going to see it?

I saw this billboard on the corner of 111 ave and 156 st. Let me give you a bit of an idea where that is in relation to Grandin station.

The green dot is the billboard, not even on the map of where the LRT runs.

This seems like an awfully random place to put a billboard confessing your love for a complete stranger.  The logical place would be, I don’t know… Grandin Station? Maybe a Red Scarf Store?  You know two things about this girl Rupert, the fact that she once took the train at Grandin, and that she might have a penchant for red scarves.  Then again, maybe Rupert knows something we don’t. If that’s the case, Red Scarf lady needs to be scared, very scared, because Rupert already knows where you live.

Or maybe this is just a teaser campaign for some dating service that caters to rich men with an unhealthy obsession with public transit.  That business model is as random as an obedience school that caters to vegetarian cats with learning disabilities.

"I really don't have time for this." - Photoshop Department

If anyone knows Tom Hanks (or Julia Roberts, but preferably Mr. Hanks) tell them to e-mail nathan@purevisioninc.com to get a full script for Lady In Red.


24 thoughts on “Edmontons most confusing billboard: A love story.

  • Rachel

    I’m so glad that you wrote this! I’ve seen this billboard a few times and have been extremely confused! I think there are about three of them in the city. My sister thinks that it’s a starter for a dating site, as apparently Hot107 used to just have billboards that said “Hot”, but it’s quite baffling none the less.

  • Billie Monster

    Yeah, totally saw this billboard today when I was on my way to the bridal shop. Saw it right around here http://bit.ly/AyRTH5 and thought the same things as you! This location is a lot closer to the LRT.

  • Editor: Good post. You read my mind, you do have better things to do than photoshop movie posters, so yes – come see me in my office later.

    Oh and FYI, Rupert called this afternoon and he’s – as he put it, “rather miffed at this atrocity of an article ruining his chances of finding his true love in Red Scarf Girl.” he’s also pissed because apparently ascots were so 2000 and late and everyone knows, he’s more of a marf* guy (*man scarf)

    In my opinion the marf is enough of a c@ck block and his chances from the get go were slim.

  • Debbie

    The other day I was totally confused when a lady on the LRT asked me if I was the “Red Scarf” billboard girl. At the time I didn’t know what she was talking about then today I noticed the billboard near the Stadium LRT station. NOW I know what she meant! LOL!! Anyway, I think this billboard is a gimmick of some sort.

  • Erin

    This billboard has also been boggling my mind. And now there is a new billboard something like “Red Scarf Girl haven’t seen you at Grandin in awhile. Love to connect”. Still confused …

  • Jess

    I drive by this billboard everyday on my way to NAIT, I think it’s on Kingsway Ave. I really think it’s a gimmick. Remember when Now! had a bunch of billboards before they launched, saying things like ‘When,’ ‘Soon,’ and ‘Now!’ It must be something along those lines. But I agree that the first thing I thought was, “He(or she) didn’t leave any contact information.”

  • Shelly

    I feel this post was a valuable use of time. Editor – you’re outnumbered! As we say in the world of facebook, “Like”.
    Also… I may tune in to that next post on Demystifying Photo Techniques. Win-win-win.

  • Mandy

    I’d like to think that they’re promoting riding the lrt, and while they’re at it, they’re saying you could find the love of your life (:

  • Mandie

    I saw them putting up a new one today downtown. It said something along the lines of, “Girl with the red scarf, its been 3 weeks…” I dont remember what the rest of it said.

  • Hoobz

    Ooooo I’m so happy you wrote this, the billboard has been driving me nuts! And every time I come up from the LRT station I check to see if our man Rupert has changed it up.

    Anywho, there’s a new one up now, same location. It says: Girl with the Red Scarf: It’s been weeks. Sigh….:-( Should I move on?

  • Kas

    I work on 99st and there has been the same set of billboards just off 99st on 63 av… It currently says “Girl with the red scarf, it’s been weeks… Sigh… 🙁 …
    Should I just move on?”

  • donna

    It is a radio campaign. The same thing is apparently underway in Calgary. FYI. don’t fall for the radio suck in.

  • Chakit

    i saw 2 billboards one near Grandin Station same as the picture above asking to meet and saw another one near stadium LRT station Saying “Girl With the red scarf, its been 3 week, …” and than some thing about “should i wait or its time to move on” … so obviously its kinda of advertisement but it will have a Release date or launch date when all these billboards i guess will have a girl model with red scarf looking at the product.

  • Elaina

    Aah I was so confused. I haven’t seen the new billboard but now that’s three diff messages. It definitely sounds like a gimmick NOW because no one would be so persistent to creep on a woman that clearly has no intentions of hooking up with the guy. Otherwise it would have happened by now. Another comment was that if it was a man seeking out a woman, she could have contacted Pattison ads and perhaps asked about the boards where the man could have left contact information. That’s my assumption.

  • Sara

    Well, I got the impression that she used to take the train at a regular time and so would he but now she does not. So, if she wants to meet him, she simply has to resume taking the train during her regular routine. No contact info needed. Think, people. Also, I originally thought it was an ad for Craigslist’s missed connection section as the messages usually sound like this however, only people that use Craigslist would know.

  • Anna

    I’m a reporter/student for the small west-end based news site West Edmonton Local and I really want to do a story on these billboards! Has anyone seen one of them in the west end? I know there was one spotted on 156 st and 111 ave but it’s gone now. Please let me know if anyone has seen one in or near the west end, thanks so much!
    -Anna-Grae York

  • Kate

    There is an ad out near spruce grove overpass going east

  • Kristin

    There is one on 50th St in between Roper Rd and 68th Ave. You’ll see it going north. I noticed the third one today and it has been driving me crazy!

  • Dajana

    The Ladybug Foundation has a Red Scarf Day to bring awareness to homelessness. Could this be it? Hmmmm… not certain a non-profit has the funds to spend on billboards.


  • Renee

    I saw a new one yesterday that said something on the lines “girl with the red scarf, we can help… text us” And then there was the NOW Radio logo, I think it might be another one of their advertisement campaigns.

  • Jess

    Like Renee said, we saw the Now! ad this morning and I can’t decide whether I’m pleased or disappointed. I was hoping it would be some interesting new company or something. But I get why Now did it, because it definitely gets the city talking about them. I’m not surprised though, because as I said before, this is what Now did before they launched. But I’m glad the problem is finally solved, no more confusion. I definitely didn’t think it was Now because of the use of a nicer typeface, in comparison to their usual hideous logo font.

  • Hira

    OMG my friend and I saw a similar one near Corona Station on Jasper and 107! Coincidentally we both were wearing red head scarves (hijabs) and we laughed. I’m super curious as to what these billboards are for!!

  • Linda

    And it continues! I saw an update to the board today :
    Dear Prince Charming,
    I’m not the red scarf girl but I could be!
    Lets Hook Up! Candi

    So why would NOW continue the Saga after they’ve already revealed their Gimmick?

  • Hanma

    I saw a billboard in the west end eastbound on Stony plain road and 142 street that said something to the effect that prince charming had found red scarf girl. I thought I had heard on now radio that there was a guy who emailed into the station asking their help in tracking down this girl in the red scarf. So I think now radio footed the billboard bill.

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