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It was an ice cream cone

September 28, 2011

I saw an interesting video today on CNN.com.  A small ice cream company in Florida noticed a large decrease in sales over the last few weeks. Turns out after opening the new shop the owner found an old ice cream costume in the back and thought it would be a great idea for someone to wear it outside to flag in new customers. Unfortunately the costume did the exact opposite.

The owners were tipped off by a very upset lady who was afraid to cross the street because she thought there was a KKK member out in front of the ice cream shop. Turns out the costume they had found looked like an ice cream cone up close, but from far away resembled a KKK member.  The lady shared with the owners that many other people saw the KKK and not a giant friendly ice cream cone.

So, do sign shakers work? Do customers enjoy watching someone out on the street? Or do they disregard them unless they seem somewhat offensive or obscene?

My opinion is, it depends. Some companies can benefit from these sign shakers. I personally always HONK at the Liberty shakers when it comes time for tax season.  But what companies really need to remember is who their clients are. Remember they are people, and people can be judgmental. If your sign shaker is in front of a children’s school, and is wearing an inappropriate outfit it will not matter what the sign says, don’t plan on getting a lot of new families stopping by.

Consider your audience at all times; whether they are driving by or walking across the street, your company image starts outside your door, and if you scare them away before they reach it consider yourself done for.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 1:23 pm

    I hate those sign shakers, but they must work, or be very cheap, because companies still use them

  2. Valerie Wagner permalink
    October 2, 2011 9:53 am

    An interesting point to make, when I see the sign shakers I never really considered the business as much I as considered the flamboyant people holding the signs. The shakers made me smile, honk, or outright laugh. As a business owner would I want someone “laughing” at my shaker? Have we gotten too lax in our professional attitude when marketing our product?

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