Many people are having to adjust their budgets to get more bang for their buck in today’s economy. The same is true for many local businesses when it comes to advertising.
Many local businesses are beginning to use sign holders or flippers to get their message across, and they do so at a much cheaper rate compared to traditional print and broadcast advertising.
Jersey Taylor, general manager for J.D. Legends restaurant and bowling alley on 2nd Street, said her business began using sign holders almost a year ago.
“We just kind of came up with the idea,” she said. “I’m sure it was motivated by seeing somebody else do it.”
Since J.D. Legends began using sign holders, Taylor said she’s noticed a difference.
“People that come in have seen the person holding up the sign, and they do mention it, and they tell us it’s the reason they came in,” Taylor said.
Chuck Beigle, owner of Liberty Tax Service on Blueberry Lane, said it is a tried and true method from the corporate level.
“This is our fifth season, and we’ve been doing it all along,” Beigle said. “Nationally, it’s been a strategy of Liberty Tax from the very beginning.”
Beigle, like Taylor, said having sign holders is an effective and cheap way to advertise.
“We try to do a little bit of everything. Liberty does not do any national advertising like some of the other national firms do,” Beigle said. “We feel like we’d rather invest our money locally, so we would rather employ people and that way it also promotes our business. And we feel that when we spend our dollars locally with a local newspaper ad or local marketers, like our wavers, and people who go around to businesses distributing our coupons and that sort of thing, we feel like it’s a better use of our advertising dollars than trying to do national ads.”
Taylor said additionally, she has found that many people who are thinking about places to go for lunch may not always remember the radio spot or newspaper ad, but when they see a sign-holder, it helps sway their attention.
“I think it’s more effective than radio or newspaper,” Taylor said. “With the newspaper, you’ll see it and put the newspaper down and forget about it, or on the radio, you will hear the commercial and when it’s over, and if you don’t act on it at that moment, then that chance is gone.”
Gordon Duke, owner of Wildcat Wings, located on Imperial Way, agreed with Taylor. He also said with sign holders, he can change whatever message he is seeking to get out on a moment’s notice, and that cannot be done with a print or broadcast ad.
“We like doing it because we can target what we want to put out right away,” Duke said. “If we want to change the sign up with a new special, we can immediately put it out for people to see it at no cost.”
Besides being a cost-effective way to get the businessess’ message out, sign holders are dedicated to their craft, even when the weather is not as forgiving.
“There was one year that I was out here during the ice storm,” said Derek Mock, a sign holder with Liberty Tax. “I went inside because my crown had frozen over and it was falling down, and I had ice on my outfit because I wasn’t paying attention. Then there’s other days like today. Even though it’s winter, it’s a great day.”
Mock, who has been a sign-holder at Liberty Tax for four years, said when it is rainy, he simply adds an umbrella to his Statue of Liberty outfit, and when the weather turns cold, it’s a simple task of putting on layers.
But when the weather gets dangerous, common sense takes over, Beigle said.
“We want them out there as much as possible,” Beigle said. “When the weather gets really bad, they can come in. We try to provide some ways for them to escape the really bad weather, but we don’t want them to be out there when it’s dangerous, of course.”
Mock described the job as a chance to get paid while having fun.
“I get to sit out here and listen to music, really. It’s a lot of fun,” he said as a car blew its horn in greeting during his four-hour shift Monday. “I get to interact with cars and wave at the people; it’s not really a hard job.”
While traditional advertising is not on the cusp of being extinct, Beigle, Taylor and Duke said the sign-holding method is becoming the wave of the future for many businesses.
“It just draws attention to the business, and it gets almost immediate results,” Duke said. “Especially if someone is driving around a food area trying to find something to eat, and when they see that sign, it’s almost an immediate impact.”