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

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    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! 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



    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



    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.



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  3. #2
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    Gimme a break the smiley is cool..the new plate is ugly and boring...like the old one was :

    People need to grow up..smileys rock.
    Go Gators!

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    C-A-T-S CATS! CATS! CATS! WVRed's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    Quote Originally Posted by KronoRed
    Gimme a break the smiley is cool..the new plate is ugly and boring...like the old one was :

    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.

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

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    I've read books about sparkling vampires who walk around in the daylight that were written better than a John Fay article.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    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

    Go Gators!

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    Quote Originally Posted by WVRed
    There can be no uglier license plate in the US than West Virginia. Well, maybe Michigan...
    You're very right...



    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.

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

    Personally I can't look at the current plate without seeing the teletubbies....


    I think I'll like the new plates.
    In those things which we commit to practice we can master, and with mastery we have the freedom to use these skills whenever we desire, without this practice we are slaves to our inability.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    This was an ugly tag Macro


    We're going back to that
    Go Gators!

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    Actually, Krono, I liked the Churchill Downs plates! : 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:



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

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    Administrator GIK's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    Quote Originally Posted by WVRed
    Well, maybe Michigan
    The simple 'blue plate' gets a from me.

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    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    I just wish we had a choice, I wanna keep the smiley
    Go Gators!

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

    Uh... hey, they're license plates.
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    Zombie has a point!!!
    In those things which we commit to practice we can master, and with mastery we have the freedom to use these skills whenever we desire, without this practice we are slaves to our inability.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsFan75
    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
    "Booing on opening day is like telling grandma her house smells like old lady."--WOY

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    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    Quote Originally Posted by zombie-a-go-go
    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.

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

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    Administrator GIK's Avatar
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    Re: Sun Sets On Kentucky's Smiley Face Plates (And the BBC reports it!!)

    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.


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