Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spinning Out of Control

As a marketer I get the need to stand out.....be different.....get your product noticed.  But let's be honest here, do the little dudes spinning signs on the side of the road really count as providing a "good marketing experience?"  Hear me out here.......

So when this trend first started it was people standing on the side of the roads holding signs.  They were fairly unobtrusive.  What would catch my eye back then was the fact that it was something out of the ordinary.  You didn't expect that little man with his sign to be there on the corner.  He was just hanging out, holding a sign advertising a sale of some kind and typically, it even had a directional arrow on it so you knew where the store was located.

From there we went to people wearing costumes and waving at passing cars while holding signs.  Okay, a little odd, but still, not utterly obnoxious.  They aren't too distracting and I can see what they are advertising (although I tend to wonder about who possibly convinced them to where the odd chicken outfit or convinced them that wearing the Statue of Liberty outfit in the dead of Summer was a good idea).

It was at that point that the Marketing Powers that Be went too far!  The next wave brought in the future - strange little skateboarding, gum chewing, iPod listening, dancing, sign-spinning dweebs!  That's right, I said dweebs!

First and foremost, I can't read the bloody sign because Prince Spins-a-lot is flipping the dang thing every which way from Sunday and I can't make out anything other than the fact that I believe there is blue and white used some place on the sign.  Add to that his super fresh dancing moves and I'd be hard pressed to find anyone who can now read the damn thing as he twirls around in a constant state of motion!

It's typically at this point that I loose all interest in whatever they sign is promoting and begin focusing on said dweeb.  Where did his parents go wrong?  At what point did they decide that encouraging the life skill of dancing with a sign was all they had to push the lad to aspiring to?  And at what point did this life-skill become cool among Generation Y?  (and clearly, if this is where the bar is set, I now understand their generation's label)

As a parent I tend to second guess myself on my wonderment and outward judgement of the little sign dweebs. I mean, aren't I always saying I just want my kids to be happy?  And if we're being honest here, the Dweeb Brigade does look happy, flipping and dancing around with their little signs.  So as I can't come up with a real answer here that I'm comfortable with, so I'll just continue to sit perplexed in my hypocritical judgement of the Spinners and will try and rationalize it as a Marketer.

But as a Marketer.....nope, nope I just can't see the point from this side either.  I mean, if I want my client's message to be seen and heard, I don't think giving a sign with lots of writing on it to a dim-witted sign flipper is really the best avenue.  If you can't read the sign, how are you, Joe Consumer, going to get the message and suddenly decide to yourself "heck yeah, I was just thinking that I needed to buy a new table and those are 75% off!"

If I'm not allowed to sit in judgement and want more for GenY, then can't I at least sit in judgement of my peers and long for the days of slick, subliminal messaging, catchy jingles and cartoon spokesmen?  You can't tell me it didn't work.  Oreos.....Oscar Mayer Bologna.....Slinky?  Go ahead, have a Coke, teach the world to sing and tell me those jingles didn't just get stuck in your head?

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