Twenty-two-year-old Cory Winn and his business partner, Garret Johnson, 22, were looking to advertise their business start up, Lucca International, so they did what any business would do. They bought a billboard.
In June, their billboard went up near 5900 South and State Street. It was simple with a white background and text written in big black Comic Sans font that read “Weezer.” They never expected that the band would actually reply with their own billboard just across the street from Fashion Place Mall that read:
“Thanks to whoever bought the billboard down the road. – Weezer”
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think that would warrant a response. It’s basically the only thing I’ve accomplished in my life,” Winn told ABC4, later adding, “We’re having a text-message on State Street and everyone can see it. It’s pretty crazy.”
Weezer, a California rock band, gained popularity in early 90s with their songs “Buddy Holly” and “Say It Say So.” The band has released 15 studio albums over their nearly two decade career, and most recently released an EP titled “SZNZ: Autumn” on Sept. 22.
Originally, Winn, Johnson and their lead designer, 20-year-old Turner Frilling, purchased the billboard they weren’t sure what they were going to do with it, but they knew it had to be good. Running the billboard, along with another one on Redwood Road, is costing the young company $5,000 per month, according to Johnson, who organized buying the spaces.
“After we bought the billboard we thought, ‘that’s kind of lame. People have already done that,’” Winn said. “So then, we wanted to do something real weird with it.”
Together with their nearly 70k followers on Instagram, the community settled on using one of the most univerisally hated fonts and the band’s name.
The three shared their purchase on TikTok in a video that garnered 61k views at the time of writing.
When asked about the choice, Winn told ABC4 that all three of the Lucca International guys loved Weezer. Johnson said he simply “had a dream” while Winn recalled a story from his aunt from when she went on tour with Weezer, following the band from coast-to-coast in the 90s. His aunt said Weezer didn’t acknowledge her until the final concert in Los Angeles when the band brought her on stage.
“With that story, I realized they were the coolest thing in the world at one point, at least to the scene of, I don’t know what to call it, nerds? Losers?” Winn said. “I think everyone from this generation wanted to be a part of something like that and the closest thing we could attach ourselves to was Weezer because still to this day they are like a meme. But also they made really good music if you get into it so it’s like a perfect combination for us to spend money on and for people to resonate with it.”
Without their company’s name on the billboard, however, the sudden summer appearance of a white billboard with Weezer’s name on it raised questions among those who drove by. Weezer wasn’t planning a tour in Utah any time soon with only two dates listed on their website.
Winn thinks Weezer may have been just as confused as Utahns telling ABC4, “When their attention was directed to it they were like ‘is there a promotion that we don’t know about?’ but when they found out about it they had to respond.”
While Weezer hasn’t definitively confirmed they were the ones behind the response billboard, posting about it on both their official Instagram and Twitter accounts, Winn, Johnson, and Frilling are sure it is from the band themselves.
Either way, the ball is squarely in Lucca International’s court. According to Winn, the three of them are already planning their next move.
“We actually are already working on our response billboard,” Winn said. “We realized we could just switch the panel on the billboard for much cheaper and we hope they’ll do the same because we don’t expect them to buy an entire new billboard either.”
The three definitely hope it is in fact Weezer behind the responding billboard, and hope they can continue their State Street conversation.
In the meantime, the three just wanted everyone to know “Lucca International love Utah and Lucca International loves Weezer like we hope Weezer loves Utah.”