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?

Coming Up Roses

What is it about this time of year that seems to bring such a feeling of hope and renewal?  I have this feeling of great expectations that seems to hit out of no where about this time every year.

Growing up I always thought it had to do with my birthday; I mean as a kid, who didn't experience a bit of euphoria whenever their birthday rolled around?  But as I've gotten older I've decided that it's something more than just that "all about me" feeling that comes from your birthday (or in my case, the annual week long festival I affectionately refer to as Becky-palooza).

I was in the car yesterday, on my way to lunch with friends, when this annual feeling came up and announced its arrival.  As is standard for me in the Spring, I was cruising along with my windows rolled down, bee-bopping along to my 80's playlist on my iPod (yes really, it's STILL my favorite playlist).  All of the sudden I was overcome with a feeling of pure bliss; a moment of true "the World is my oyster" optimism.

Now as most of you know, I'm a fairly optimistic person by nature, so feeling like I can tackle anything isn't new for me, which is why this annual sense of renewal is so fascinating to me.  I can see why every Fall you feel like you're starting something new; I mean, think about it, we were all trained for how many years to start a new school year in the Fall.  New binders, unused pencils and a fresh box of Crayons always spelled the start of something exciting and big!  But Spring is some how different as it's not tied to some childhood process or calendar marker for most people.

Every year, without really even thinking about it, I get the urge to clean the house from top to bottom and revamp my wardrobe with new, fresh feeling pieces to spice things up.  I typically change up my hair color, moving from a warmer reddish brown to something much lighter and brighter (I am a graduate of Cher school of hair, so I am well versed in the art of mixing it up and using hair as an accessory).  I suddenly drop my "go to boots", a staple of my Fall and Winter wardrobe, and instead opt for flip flops or the feeling of being just plan shoe-less (always hearing my Mother's voice in my head cautioning me about the dangers of going barefoot).

The windows in the house suddenly move to a permanent state of open and I find myself searching for any excuse possible to drive some place just so I can roll the windows down and crank up the iPod a little more.

I'm sure the brightly colored flowers and the return of green in the formerly dormant grass has something to do with it, but there's more to it than that.  I mean if that's all it was, I should be happy as a little clam come Summer as well (although in all fairness, I do live in Texas and am not a desert dwelling animal by nature, so Summer isn't exactly an excuse for me to hang around outside for great lengths of time).

Each year I find the voice of my Grandfather booming through the memories of my mind singing "Beautiful, Beautiful Texas" each time I pass a field of bluebonnets.  Around this time of year I find myself reciting "Spring has sprung, the grass has riz," without prompting from anyone else.  And about this time annually, without warning, I look down and am caught by surprised as my previously painted dark purple toenails have some how changed into shades of bright purple or pink (it's not like little toenail elves come in and do this overnight - I am the one that paints them, so why this comes as a surprise to me at some point always baffles me).

For me, Spring is a time of year like no other.  Everything feels new, fresh and possible.  Optimism abounds from every corner of my life and my inner-being becomes some how, recharged again.  It is a magical time that I am happily surprised by and welcome each year.