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Marketing phenomenon of Human Billboards

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=sign+spinners&iid=7017554″ src=”e/2/5/f/Job_Fair_Held_4719.jpg?adImageId=9595458&imageId=7017554″ width=”234″ height=”144″ /]Went out today to take care of some errands and saw not one, but two sidewalk corner sign spinners hard at work in the winter sunshine.  I’ve been meaning to talk about this marketing phenomenon for awhile and what sparked this post today was the enthusiasm that radiated from the sign holder advertising a pizza eatery.  This young man was singing Michael Jackson songs at the top of his lungs and dancing all over the place while keeping his sign moving in time to his own music and – miraculously – still keeping the sign readable to those of us in cars passing by.

The other sign holder I passed by today was dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume and advertising a tax return preparation business [I think].  I was in the far lane going the other way, but pretty sure.

Our community isn’t that huge, just under 80,000, but we seem to have a lot of  human sign holder marketing going on.  Over the past year or so I’ve seen signs being waved, tossed and rocked by men and women, teens and older, advertising pizza, new housing, furniture store opening sales, furniture store closing sales, tax preparation services, new restaurant opening, retirement apartment openings and much more.  I can remember a time when the only human held signs advertising something were by high school students letting folks know about their car wash at the gas station across the street.

I wondered about this so I did a little research and found a small article at Entrepreneur [dot com] talking about the home-business idea of human billboards.   According to the article, “…Human billboards advertise everything from new home developments to car dealerships and are starting to catch on as a highly effective cost-efficient method of advertising and promoting their products and services. Human billboards are simply people that hold signs or banners emblazoned with promotional and advertising messages in high-traffic areas of the community; usually outside, in front, or in close proximity to the business they are promoting….”

It seems that the whole idea behind this unique method of advertising is to get noticed.  Humans carrying advertising signs is nothing new in commerce…been around for a long time.  However, it fell out of practice only to become new again.  To be truthful though, it’s becoming so common that I don’t actually pay attention to them anymore…except for that singing young man today.   It was like watching a street performer…and he was good; as far as I could tell in the whole 5 seconds it took for my car to pass by.

The photo above shows a fellow with AArrow Advertising practicing his moves.  I looked them up and they have some interesting history of human signage on their about us page.  Their philosophy, in part:

  • “…a new advertising medium that is hard to forget and impossible to ignore. Each AArrow Sign Spinner is trained to perform hundreds of tricks and endless combinations; instantly creating a stage for this new-age type of performance. AArrow Advertising employees take pride in our ability to create a one-on-one advertising experience with each person that passes us by delivering what no other form of advertising can: eye contact and a smile….”

Another company I found, EyeShot, says of itself, “…If you’re looking for a reliable way to direct traffic to a new home community, the grand opening of a retail center, a hard to find service location, or a great new restaurant, EyeShot gives you many creative and highly effective methods to ‘point the way’ and grab the attention of your customers….”

Interestingly, at the top of their webpage in the banner, EyeShot shows some examples and locations – two of those locations are right in my geographical area…one in my community and one just up the road.  In fact one of the errands I had to run today involved driving the 20 minutes [not in commute traffic time, would have taken most of an hour] to that community that has a shop where I purchase wild bird seed.

I, along with other artists and a selection of local vintners, will take part in an “art and wine crawl” in our downtown tomorrow evening.  Artists and wineries are being paired with a business and folks can stroll around downtown for several hours tasting the various wines, eating hors d’oeurves, [hopefully] buying some artwork and visiting the hosting businesses.  I’m being stationed along with two other artists in a particular business and we’ll have a sign on the sidewalk reading something like “more art here.”  I wonder, should we have someone dancing outside and spinning our sign?

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3 reasons NOT to think about a trillion dollar budget

Here are my 3 reasons NOT to think about the 3.55 trillion dollar budget  that came out of Washington today:

Reason #1: I have my own budget to contend with…and it is just that: contentious.  We have to look for another credit card [we keep one for emergency use and cash flow leverage] because the one we were happy with just raised its rates astronomically.  My husband said this was cruel on the part of the credit card company in the light of probably thousands of people who are having to live off their credit cards right now due to loss of job and/or loss of home.  There are other contentions with it: gas prices keep creeping up; food prices continue to creep up; we have family who need our help occasionally – and we have not the best health care program – we have so much out-of-pocket to pay it causes us, and others on similar plans, to have to make choices as to which health conditions to address or not.  So, I can’t think on a trillion dollar budget when it’s hard to wrap my brain around my thousand-ish, and on some days, 10 dollar-ish budget.

Reason #2: I’m a bit overwhelmed by the headlines in today’s paper that scream other kinds of economic bad news: GM loses $30 billion in 2008  – and the automakers are asking for yet more money from the federal government.  These are staggering sums…and after awhile become meaningless to a suburban housewife just trying to make ends meet.  Other news: Safeway stock takes a beating – now it sounds bad, but if you read further, you discover that Safeway is indeed making money.  That’s so good to know because we the people  just don’t need another retailer going under with the resultant loss of jobs. 

Reason #3: I’m just too busy to read through it.  Besides having to care for a disabled mother-in-law, take care of my home and be a wife, mom and grandmom, I have a home-based business that I’m working on.  I’m also a fine artist, a painter, and let me tell you, economic times are hard for artists as well as automakers.  Fortunately, the newest stimulus plan did make it so that some monies will be available to the arts: museums, theaters, art centers.  But it won’t put more money into the hands of the consumer who goes to local art shows to purchase art, either as art collectors or as people just needing something to hang over the sofa.

All said all done I can’t get excited about the thought of a 3 1/2 trillion dollar budget…to be honest because part of it contains money going to fund war and I just wish humans could come up with an alternative to killing one another over ideological differences.  I guess soldiers and sailors need a paycheck, too, but I’d rather they be paid for peacetime duties than war.  I served in the Navy as did my dad so I am not anti-military.  I’m just anti-war.  Let’s find a different way.

I can’t get excited over this trillion dollar budget because all I can see is what is in front of me – neighbors who lost their jobs with nothing on the horizon…these are not people who build bridges or lay roadbeds.   I think knowledge workers suffer the most in this economy.  All I can offer is the idea of an answer for the immediate and longterm: start a home-based business with a direct selling income opportunityUse it to help your own budget and help to stimulate your own economy.

What do you think?

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