Friday Find #11:
Pumpkin spice oil changes are back!
We spotted this message on a road trip through Indiana, and since we always brake for great messaging, we had to stop and snap this pic …
The sign could’ve just said, “Oil change special.” But nobody makes a U-turn for a sign like that. The takeaway? If you want to stop sounding like everyone else in your industry, then start looking outside it for your messaging inspiration.
Friday Find #10:
The only ingredient that’s hard to pronounce
We thought this message was a keeper, which means it’s probably still in the car under a back seat somewhere …
The bag could’ve just said, “No artificial ingredients.” That’s better than saying, “No tertiary butylhydroquinone or propyl gallate.” But it’s still not as engaging as poking fun at the scary, unpronounceable additives we read on packaging every day. The takeaway? In any selling conversation, don’t just give your customers the facts – find a way to make those facts more relatable (even if you have to make fun of yourself to do it).
Friday Find #9:
Today’s escape from reality
We strolled up to this message outside a vintage bookstore and just had to turn left …
The sign could’ve simply said, “Used Books.” But this smart bookseller realized that they aren’t actually in the business of selling books. They’re in the business of pointing people to other worlds. The takeaway? Ask yourself what people are really buying when they buy your product.
Friday Find #8:
We were amused and slightly spooked by this message staring at us from the window of an appointment-only barbershop in the UK …
This sign could’ve just said, well … “No walk-ins.” But where’s the drama or personality in a line like that? Nothing to catch your eye and make you smile. It’s amazing how swapping a single word can change everything. The takeaway? Always be looking for that one word that can turn your message on its head.
Friday Find #7:
It’s pronounced “pecan”, not “pecan”
We walked up to this message on the streets of Atlanta, and it drove us nuts in a good way …
This sign could’ve just said, “Local Georgia pecans.” But that wouldn’t get inside your head and make you say the name of their product over and over. (Is it “Puh-KAHN?” “PEE-can?” “PEE-kahn?”) The takeaway? If you make your message interactive – for example, by raising a question people play with in their heads – you’ll surprise them and make them remember your brand.
Friday Find #6:
I am very old, and I need to rest
We came across this message from a talking tree – and that’s not something you see every day …
Photo Credit: National Trust (via X/Twitter)
The sign could’ve just said, “Do not climb tree.” But that sounds mean. And it kind of makes you want to climb the thing, even if you hadn’t been thinking of doing that before. So someone found a way to make this request more relatable. The takeaway? If you want people to respond, don’t just give them a cold call-to-action – give them a meaningful why.
Friday Find #5:
Hockey – a Southern tradition?
We skated past this message outside a hockey rink in Georgia – and had to go back to make sure we read it right …
The sign could’ve just said, “Hockey is where it’s at.” But “Southern Tradition”? It takes guts to put hockey right up there next to the biscuits and gravy. If anybody has to skate to where the puck is going, it’s hockey players sweating it out in the Deep South on their Rollerblades. The takeaway? To establish yourself in a new market, you’ve got to go big with your message.
Friday Find #4:
You only get one brain
We ran headfirst into this message at the bike shop, and it stopped us in our tracks …
This poster could’ve just said, “We make quality bike helmets.” But people tend to shrug off a “look at my product” message. There’s no emotion in it. And nothing to make your buyers stop and think. The takeaway? Don’t just talk about what you do – talk about why it really matters.
Friday Find #3:
The ultimate food truck
We saw this massive message parked at a shopping center in the ’burbs and fell in love …
The truck could’ve just said, “Papa Johns Pizza.” But instead, someone seized the opportunity to turn a perceived negative (“we’re a giant corporate brand – not a cool local artisan”) into a fun positive. The takeaway? A little humor and self-awareness can make your brand more likable.
Friday Find #2:
Tap your heels together three times
We saw this message out the window of our Uber in a city far from home …
The billboard could’ve just said, “Chrome is the world’s #1 browser.” But that wouldn’t give you warm feelings. So, the wizards who wrote this message tucked their great big claim of technological superiority inside a humble, well-loved idiom. The takeaway? If you’re really going to connect with people, you need to show your human side.
Friday Find #1:
Be nice to the umpires
We found this message on a Little League fence a few miles north of the Atlanta Braves baseball stadium and couldn’t help but smile …
This notice could’ve just said, “Please be courteous to players and umpires.” But you expect it to say that. And expected messages get ignored. The takeaway? If your customers act like they’ve heard it all before, it’s because they have. So, you’ve got to reframe your message in a way that catches them by surprise.
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