I’ve always found advertising and signs interesting. I think that was one of the reasons I enjoyed some of those elements of my degree. It is reckoned that a billboard has less than 1/2 a second to attract someone’s attention. Of course there is much more than grabbing attention that is important for a billboard, it has to also be in keeping with what is being advertised. I doubt strongly the now famous wonder bra advert would have been quite so memorable if it had been for the Financial Times. (Then again…).
For a long time (over half my life) I subscribed to Private Eye. They would take great pleasure in pointing out where the same advertising campaign would be used for different products, often when the same advertising agents were being used. I get the feeling that it happens far more often than most people are aware of, but then I suppose there is an argument for not changing a winning formula.
Wording on signs is equally important as well. A website that I drift to every now and again has a section entitled Signs and Blunders (Ship of Fools for those who want to look) that often has unfortunate wording from church signs and newsletters. I think the self assertiveness class being asked to use the doors at the rear of the building was a classic case.
There are two signs that I drive past on a weekly basis that have drawn my attention. One I’ve only just noticed, and it talks, in big bold words, about being open 7 days a week. Nothing odd about that I grant you, plenty of places are. Its the small print on the sign that I find intriguing. Having made a big fuss about being open 7 days a week, in small, but readable writing at the bottom it goes on to mention that they are closed all day one day a week. This sparked my curiosity as to why it was important to give the impression that they are open everyday when they are not. Personally I’d have thought that people would be more upset to find a place they thought would be open and isn’t, then think that a place didn’t open 7 days a week. Maybe I’m wrong in that and the message that is being sent.
The second sign is one that always makes me laugh whenever I see it. Whether the wording is done on purpose or not I don’t know. I like to think that it’s been written so that people like me can have an immature giggle at it. The sign is outside a vets and related to an offer in relation to having your pet neutered. Now I’m sure that neutering is not a laughing matter in itself, however everytime I see the sign offering 20% off neutering, I can’t help but wonder which 20% they take off and which 80% they leave! Yes it’s silly and we know what is meant, but words can be easily twisted, as I am doing so on this occasion for comedy reasons.
So this brings me back to my interest in signs. Hopefully it might have made you wonder a little more about some of the signs you go past each day.