Getting to the bottom of the Milverine billboard
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Motorists driving along the city’s interstates are typically too busy talking, texting, or drinking to notice the many electronic billboards littering their commute, though a recent campaign from Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful may change that. Happen upon one of the organization’s billboards, and you’ll see a bronzed, bare, and seriously toned male torso accompanied by the words, “Knowing Milverine’s secret identity,” and the name of a website, LitteringIsWrongToo.org. Yes, the once-elusive Milverine is now on a billboard. Because—sigh—of course he is.
Created by local graphic designer Dave Olson, who currently serves as the art director for Lamar Outdoor Advertising of Milwaukee, the Milvie billboard was inspired not only by the oft-shirtless power walker himself, but also by the press surrounding his recent public outing. “The original headline I wrote was ‘Our streets with no Milverine,’” Olson tells The A.V. Club. “Right before the campaign started, I read that The Milverine was going public by revealing his name and signing autographs. The legend of The Milverine seemed to be coming to an end, and most of the posts I read online sounded pretty bummed to find out that the mystique was gone. I was hoping the new headline would give his legend one last hurrah while helping KGMB get some attention.”
Olson kept things local with 13 other designs for the campaign, dropping in references to everything from Summerfest and Wolski’s to Miller Park and “Freeway” Mike McCarter. But a big question remains: Is the bare-chested model on the Milverine billboard ... the real Milverine? “I’m sad to say that is not the actual Milverine on the design,” says Olson. “It was a stock photo that I bronzed and added A LOT of chest hair to. If you’ve never searched through a stock photo site for ‘man without shirt,’ don’t. There are some pretty crazy photos out there.”
Milverine or not, the billboard does seem like a fitting last hurrah for the local legend, and presents him in all his former glory: anonymous, enigmatic, and, most importantly, shirtless.