Non-Conventional Advertising

with 3 Comments

Sandwich sign by CE NelsonTo get in and out of town I must traverse about 2 miles of very built-up, very trafficky, retail- and service-dotted roadway. I was surprised to see over the last few years how often stores are using real, live humans as “flaggers” holding signs for their businesses or for special offers. Sure it’s less creepy than dead people holding up signs, but my gut-instinct was that it would cost too much to pay someone and that the impact on sales would be minimal. Apparently my gut is wrong. According to this article I learned three things I’m surprised by:

  • This is a competitive position
  • People are fine with $7.50/hr for this work
  • It can have a dramatic effect on sales

Don’t get me wrong, money is money and I know that people will do all sorts of things. I just think it would be miserable work. Time would pass slowly as you stand in the cold with maybe a slight drizzle coming down. Cars beeping, bikes almost hitting you. Bleh… I’d much prefer the McDonald’s job. On the bright side it takes no skill, you can probably listen to music and daydream.

On the other hand, I’m surprised that this really helps business. I can see how it may make some people aware of businesses that are squirreled away in strip malls. I guess I’m not part of the demographic who even uses strip-mall businesses for much of anything so perhaps I’m no more inclined to visit them whether they’re having a special or not.

I don’t know what my blog readers think, but I’m surprised. Any opinions? Any experience being influenced by or being a flagger?

Thanks to the Business Opportunities Weblog for the link…

3 Responses

  1. CoderGuy

    I agree with you completely. I have noticed several up here for mattress places and furniture places and not once have I ever thought of going in because of them. Even when they had one on each corner advertising up to 70% off when Circuit City was going out of business, no influence to me at all.

  2. Sarah flanagan

    Honestly, I am turned off by the flaggers, and it makes me NOT want to shop at the place that they’re advertising. I’m surprised that it actually works at driving business!

  3. Dad

    Your survey is highly unscientific – after all, those who read your blog most are friends and relatives and so probably think somewhat alike(alright in MOST categories)- but I feel compelled to respond anyway. I agree with Sarah (confirming my group think hypothesis) that having this living animated billboards appears to me to be an admission that whomever is selling whatever are unable to market the product on its own merits and so much resort to something else – or perhaps that there really is no difference in what is being offered and so a difference has to be created in the form of the advertising itself – in either event it would make me unlikely to go out of my way to find out.

    In our area the use of “sign flippers” to draw you into an open house has become so routine that they are hardly noticed anymore – so the technique is even less effective.


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