PDA

View Full Version : Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)



macro
07-19-2005, 04:45 PM
I really didn't think this story would generate much interest outside of Kentucky, but news outlets everywhere are picking up this story, even the BBC! :eek: Sales of alternate plates have skyrocketed in Kentucky since Mr. Smiley debuted in 2002, with people paying the extra fees for those plates to avoid having the smiling sun grace the rears of their vehicles. It is now speculated that the new, more attractive plates will cause a drop in sales of alternate plates, and therefore a drop in the revenues they brought to the organizations that the proceeds went to.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4690261.stm

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41312000/jpg/_41312227_plate_body.jpg

US state shelves smiley car plate

The US state of Kentucky is set to withdraw the design of the state's smiling sunshine face from its licence plates because it is so unpopular. Perched beneath the line "It's that friendly" on the plates, the smiling sun has met ridicule and scorn.

Drivers have been drawing moustaches on the face, or transforming the smile into a scowl in protest.

The new design features an outline of the state of Kentucky in the centre and the words "Unbridled spirit".

"A lot of people found them so obnoxious they wouldn't put them on their cars," county official Don Blevins told the Associated Press.

"It's silly. It's sappy. It doesn't say 'Kentucky,'" said Billy Reed, a spokesman for the firm which helped design the new state brand.

But the intense reaction to the car identification plates has only boosted their popularity among enthusiasts.

In 2003, it won an award given by the Automobile licence plate collectors association for the best design.

Here a story announcing the new design. I must say, these new plates look great.


http://www.challengernky.com/articles/2005/07/19/around_nky/doc42dd50a318537032228866.txt

http://www.challengernky.com/content/articles/2005/07/19/around_nky/doc42dd50a318537032228866.jpg

Sun Sets on 'Smiley Face'

New Kentucky License Plate Highlights 'Unbridled Spirit' Brand

SPARTA - As the sun sets on the "smiley face" license plate, Kentucky's unbridled spirit is racing to the forefront.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher, joined by officials from the Transportation Cabinet and Department of Tourism, unveiled Kentucky's new license plate today at Kentucky Speedway. The announcement officially marks the sunset of the "smiley face" plate.




"This is a phenomenal opportunity to showcase our new state brand," Fletcher said. "We wanted a plate that is clean, striking and promotes Kentucky's Unbridled Spirit. We are very excited about the new license plate and hope this captures the approval of every citizen throughout the commonwealth."

Beginning Aug. 1, 2005, residents who acquire a vehicle or who transfer a vehicle title to Kentucky will receive the new license plate. The "smiley face" license plate will continue to be issued until July 31, 2005, with current supplies being utilized until exhausted to minimize waste.

Effective Jan. 1, 2006, a resident renewing registration will receive the new plate. By the end of 2006, all regular passenger vehicle plates will be the new "Unbridled Spirit" plate.

"By next December there will be more than two million plates visible throughout the commonwealth," said Acting Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. "The cabinet is putting to rest the 'smiley face' license plate after many requests from constituents. We feel the new plate clearly represents the brand that the citizens of the commonwealth endorse."

There is no additional cost to taxpayers to produce the new license plates. The cost is covered from a replating fund. The plates are for passenger vehicles only. The brand may also be incorporated on the specialty plates in the coming months.

Groups Worried About Drop in Sales With Demise of Smiling Plates

Larry Ball is worried about what the demise of Kentucky's smiling sun license plate will mean to specialty plates that raise money for specific causes.

Ball, executive director of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial fund, which has raised more than $125,000 for scholarships and other services, hopes people will still buy his group's specialty plate.

"But my guess is people will go back to the standard-issue plates," Ball said.

Ball isn't alone. Several groups with specialty plates are wondering what impact a new plate featuring the state slogan "Unbridled Sprit" will have on their sales.

Many drivers, displeased with the "Smiley Face" design, decided to get specialty plates, even though they cost up to $25 more than the standard-issue tags. Kentuckians bought or renewed 303,494 specialty plates last year.

Prices for specialty plates vary; the spay-neuter tags cost $25 for a new plate and $25 for renewal. Standard-issue tags cost $15 for a new plate and $15 for renewal.

The three most popular plate categories are nature, college and personalized.

Kentucky Horse Council plate sales more than quadrupled after the smiling sun first appeared in 2003.

Terri Burch, president of the council, said the specialty plates generated more than $400,000 over the past four years for the non-profit group to promote Kentucky's horse industry.

She said the council hopes to retain its supporters by letting them vote on a new design for their plate in 2006.

Ann Stewart, a staff assistant with the state Agriculture Department, said she did not know how many people switched to the specialty plate because of their aversion to the plates that bear a happy sun face.

"I think people who buy our plate are animal lovers," she said. "We just hope we can keep getting more of them."

Sales of the spay-and-neuter pets plates generate $10 each for the state Agriculture Department, with money going to provide vouchers for low-income pet owners to have their pet spayed or neutered for a $10 co-payment. Stewart said her office has issued 320 vouchers this month.

KronoRed
07-19-2005, 04:51 PM
Gimme a break the smiley is cool..the new plate is ugly and boring...like the old one was :p:

People need to grow up..smileys rock.

WVRed
07-19-2005, 05:44 PM
Gimme a break the smiley is cool..the new plate is ugly and boring...like the old one was :p:

People need to grow up..smileys rock.

If I still lived in Kentucky, I would have taken a permanent marker and crossed mine out or drew devil horns on it. :D

There can be no uglier license plate in the US than West Virginia. Well, maybe Michigan

http://www.plateshack.com/y2k/West_Virginia/wv2005.jpg

KronoRed
07-19-2005, 05:54 PM
Smile haters!!

I've already decided that the new tag stinks, and if forced to loose the beloved smiley I'm gonna get a speciaty tag ;)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v408/Kronosb/IS.jpg

macro
07-19-2005, 11:35 PM
There can be no uglier license plate in the US than West Virginia. Well, maybe Michigan...

You're very right...

http://www.michigan.gov/images/blueandwhite_16605_7.jpg

As for ol' Smiley, I had those tags put on both our current vehicles just so I'd have a sample of it for the plate collection I've started on the wall of my garage. :D

RedsFan75
07-19-2005, 11:41 PM
Personally I can't look at the current plate without seeing the teletubbies....


I think I'll like the new plates.

KronoRed
07-19-2005, 11:42 PM
This was an ugly tag Macro ;)
http://www.customlicenseplates.com/kentuckyold666.jpg

We're going back to that :rant:

macro
07-20-2005, 12:37 AM
Actually, Krono, I liked the Churchill Downs plates! :p: They marked the first time in my lifetime that Kentucky had put any design whatsoever on their plates, and they were the first aluminum reflective ones we'd ever had, as well. All previous issues looked pretty much like the Michigan plate above.

The only problem I had with them was that the twin spires were waaaaaaaaaay too far apart. They ended up having to discontinue that issue because the Kentucky Horse Park raised a ruckus, saying that the two running horses was an infringement of their copyrighted logo.

They had a good case. This is their logo:

http://www.kentuckyfarmsforsale.com/AboutTheArea/KyHorseParkLogo.jpg

For the record, I was okay with the smiley face plates, but I like the new ones better.

GIK
07-20-2005, 12:41 AM
Well, maybe Michigan

The simple 'blue plate' gets a :thumbup: from me.

KronoRed
07-20-2005, 01:01 AM
I just wish we had a choice, I wanna keep the smiley :(

zombie-a-go-go
07-20-2005, 07:15 AM
Uh... hey, they're license plates.

RedsFan75
07-20-2005, 09:42 AM
:laugh: Zombie has a point!!!

Blimpie
07-20-2005, 10:18 AM
Personally I can't look at the current plate without seeing the teletubbies....


I think I'll like the new plates.I have always thought the same thing. I guess that explains the BBC interest :confused:

macro
07-20-2005, 11:43 AM
Uh... hey, they're license plates.

Well, yes, but some people see them as an extension of their vehicle, and their vehicle as an extension of themselves, so...

As for me, my interest lies mainly in license plates as collectibles, much as one would collect baseball caps or diecast cars or whatever. Never mind that my "collection" includes only the six or eight plates I've kept off our vehicles over the past few years. :laugh:

Apparently the interest in these things is pretty widespread, since the story has made its way around the country and beyond.

GIK
07-20-2005, 11:53 AM
Personally, I love the classic plates.

Michigan 'blue', Oregon 'yellow', California 'black', Washington 'green', etc. No pictures, just a solid back color and an offsetting letter/number color.

creek14
07-20-2005, 12:44 PM
I loathe (payment is in the mail, Puf) the new Ohio plates. The letters/numbers aren't stamped/raised - they are just painted on. I'll keep my old ones until they make me change to those terrible things.

KronoRed
07-20-2005, 12:56 PM
At least you Ohio people have the Reds tag to choose from ;)

Uh... hey, they're license plates.
BOOO!

Long live the smiley!

:D

Yachtzee
07-20-2005, 07:38 PM
The KY "smiley" plates remind me of billboards that I used to see advertising Stuckey's when my dad took us on road trips.

I agree with Creek. I hate the trend of simply painting on numbers instead of embossing them. I first saw them in Missouri about 6 years ago and thought they were temp tags.

I think PA has some of the worst specialty tags. Some of them are so elaborate, you can't even figure out what the design represents, and I know of one where it's tough to even read the numbers on the plate.

Joseph
07-20-2005, 09:59 PM
Bye bye Smiley's :)

KronoRed
07-20-2005, 10:52 PM
Bye bye Smiley's :)
Hello dull ugly tag with a logo that doesn't make any sense :p:

paintmered
07-20-2005, 10:56 PM
You're very right...

http://www.michigan.gov/images/blueandwhite_16605_7.jpg

As for ol' Smiley, I had those tags put on both our current vehicles just so I'd have a sample of it for the plate collection I've started on the wall of my garage. :D

My problem with Michigan plates:

They are usually attached to a vehicle doing 95 down I-75 3 feet behind your rear bumper.

KronoRed
07-20-2005, 11:13 PM
Get out of mwm's way paint! ;)

Ravenlord
07-20-2005, 11:36 PM
does the new KY plate with the horse thing remind anyone else of the Denver Broncos?

savafan
07-20-2005, 11:45 PM
does the new KY plate with the horse thing remind anyone else of the Denver Broncos?

That was my initial thought.

GIK
07-20-2005, 11:57 PM
My problem with Michigan plates:

They are usually attached to a vehicle doing 95 down I-75 3 feet behind your rear bumper.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. :evil:

We drive fast in MI; that's what we do.

macro
07-21-2005, 12:05 PM
does the new KY plate with the horse thing remind anyone else of the Denver Broncos?

I hadn't thought about it, but it sure does...

http://www.challengernky.com/content/articles/2005/07/19/around_nky/doc42dd50a318537032228866.jpg

http://www.outabounds.com/images/nfl-broncos.gif

KronoRed
07-21-2005, 02:34 PM
One more reason why the new tag stinks! ;)

Reds Nd2
07-21-2005, 03:01 PM
I just wish we had a choice, I wanna keep the smiley :(

Do you have to get new plates each year? In VA. they just send two stickers that you attach to the tag. One with the month of expiration and one with the year.

macro
07-21-2005, 03:17 PM
Do you have to get new plates each year? In VA. they just send two stickers that you attach to the tag. One with the month of expiration and one with the year.

In Kentucky, everyone who renews current registrations will get the stickers between now and December 31. The new plates will only go to new registrations (those who buy a car or transfer their current car to Kentucky from out-of-state). Beginning January 1, everyone will be issued the new plate, even those renewing current registrations, unless they choose an alternate plate and pay the additional fee associated with those. Mr. Smiley will no longer be legal.

savafan
07-21-2005, 03:49 PM
How is it that I've driven a lot in Kentucky over the years, and have never seen the smiley face license plate?

KronoRed
07-21-2005, 03:54 PM
Yer just not looking? :D