Engage Signage

Eons ago, I started blogging as “Design Life,” critiquing advertising and branding graphic design as “sweet” vs “shameful.” The following thoughts hearken back to those early days in noticing an increased usage of placards in TV commercials (or seemingly increased, I was TV-less for two years until about three months ag0). Before selling my last TV, I remember catching Texas car service company Brake Check’s ads during syndicated shows: two slightly odd-looking guys holding cardboard signs containing key text phrases and graphics, flipping them around like Power Point slides. (I concurrently remember reading an ad about the agency who made the campaign, but can’t seem to find any info now.) Besides being generally annoying like pretty much all commercials, I wondered why they (Brake Check & agency) went with something that looked so low-budget (what, they couldn’t hire good-looking actors and clever writers?). Yet I found myself not changing the channel. There’s something hypnotic about watching the signs move around, the surprisingly irresistable puzzle of how a tangible object containing one piece of information can be turned over on its back to the next “slide,” then back to the “front” that now shows a completely different info graphic than it did before it was flipped.

Now, I’ve noticed SafeAuto Insurance, Meineke, Mattress Firm, even Wendy’s following suit. Are they copycats? Zeitgeist? Same creative team? What gives?

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