Recently, a friend of mine sent out a group text from the airport. The text was a photo of a man in the security line wearing this t-shirt. In case you can't see it, the shirt says, "Big Johnson Contractors" and at the bottom it reads, "Don't stop until you get drilled, nailed, and hammered."
My friend's text said, "Yikes. Would you hire?"
Another friend replied, "I love that someone designed that shirt, and was like, yeah, let's sell it. Eek."
My friend answered, "It feels like their whole business model."
I looked up Big Johnson's Contracting and discovered that rather than one really inappropriate contractor, it's a whole line of tshirts that were a big thing in the 90s, but still sell today. The shirts advertise fictitious companies—there's Big Johnson's Plumbing, Big Johnson's Lawn Care and so on. They all show women with massive, cartoony breasts and a super sexual tagline at the bottom.
I had never heard of Big Johnson and neither had my friends. All of them assumed it was a real company. That made me start thinking.
Why did the brains behind Big Johnson decide to parody certain industries while leaving others alone. There is no Big Johnson Financial Advisors t-shirt, or Big Johnson Occupational Therapy.
It's because the industries chosen already have a certain image and Big Johnson is capitalizing on that. The shirts don't offend me—I'm thicker skinned than that—but it's disappointing that after tens of thousands of remodelers work for decades to professionalize the industry's image, my friends still assume that the shirt was real.
Remodeling has come a long way since the mid 90s, but clearly we still have a way to go.