You know I’m a marketing professional, right? Generally speaking, we marketing folks need to pay attention to the big picture and the small details in order to manage a brand effectively. That said, we can only have so much control. A non-marketing professional might order a sign with a logo placed incorrectly. Or a well-meaning employee might make their own sign, complete with clip art, unnecessary “quotes,” and underlining, italicizing and bolding the text to make a point.
Enter one of my biggest pet peeves lately, bad signs. Recently I started snapping pics with my fun cell phone so I could share the ones that get me all twitchy. Here are some from the last month that made me laugh, or cry, enough to take a pic.
This photo comes a Chinese restaurant in South Dakota. Most restaurants offer mints for free. Not here – they wanted donations! It must be confusing to customers, so they had to place an additional (sticker) sign next to the mints stating “NOT” “FREE.” Why two sets of quotes when none are needed? Why not just tell me how much you want me to pay? And would it be okay if I took a few pennies out of the Share -a- Penny dish next to the mints and used them for my donation?
This large outdoor sign was prominently displayed on a corner near my house for about two weeks. Each time I drove by it, I chuckled. Again with the quotes. “We Do Diesels.” Does that mean what I think it means? Because it sounds dirty to me. Couldn’t they have said “Servicing Diesels?” Wait, that sounds dirty, too.
Speaking of doing things… I’ve driven by this nail salon nearly 100 times. It’s in a diverse part of town and I’ve always read the name as “doe me” or “doe may” thinking it was written in a foreign language. But last week I stopped to get gas across the street and I was looking around and *** DING DING DING,*** I realized, DO ME nails? As in “My nails will look so hot you’ll want to do me?!?!?!” Seriously. I’ve heard of people saying “These are my F&#K me pants/shoes” before… but this is a BUSINESS. Minneapolis is a progressive town, but I think this crosses the line of good taste.
Back on the road… Hey minivan driver, I’ll follow you back to the VFW to play Bingo if you use my money to buy a red sharpie and draw in the missing period on that car magnet you’re sporting. Next time, skip the periods, they are so not necessary. Better none
than two out of three.
And finally, I couldn’t help but stop dead in my tracks walking into my local Best Buy. It could have been a great store-entry experience as I soaked up their positive affirmations for choosing to shop there in this tough economy. But no, the moment was destroyed because of the sign’s placement. The face of the woman in the photo was entirely blocked
by the “automatic door” sign that’s permanently on the glass. Considering they have consistent brand standards across all sites, I would expect this sign failure was replicated across the country. That designer should be embarrassed. And I felt bad for the model in the photo, too. I don’t think she’ll be putting that one in her portfolio.
There are two more signs I want to share with you that have been bothering me, but I have to get pictures of them first. Stay tuned, I have a feeling this could become a regular thing around here.