Last week while shopping in Mount Shasta, I noticed a few flyers pinned and stapled to a bulletin board. A few moments later a small piece of paper floated past me on the ground. I chased it down, wondering what was on the other side. I reached down to pick it up and imagined it was a business card, a shopping list, a receipt, or a personal phone number. I flipped it over, and it was blank, so I did my good deed and threw it away.
I saw a few more bulletin boards that day and smiled, thinking how there was more suspense in chasing a piece of paper down the street than viewing a colorfully posted bulletin board, which was at eye level. Having a curious mind, I wondered if people would be more intrigued to read a flyer they picked up off the ground than walking up to posted flyers on a wall?
I searched online for answers to see if people are more prone to look down than up. At first, the thought of advertising on the ground did not make sense to me. Firstly, it would be littering, and perhaps there could be a fine for doing so. Secondly, it would most likely only get the attention of a few good samaritans before they dispose of it themselves.
I quickly learned advertising on the ground is not a new form of marketing, as there are many advertisements/marketing campaigns which literally bank on us looking at the ground. Major shopping chains have been hip to using floor decals to advertise merchandise, services, and recently to convey social distancing safety messages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This perspective now makes sense to me. Since the mid 2000s society has become accustomed to looking down at our hand held devices, and now more than ever the floor is in our line of sight.
Perhaps simple guerilla marketing tactics are no longer an effective way of local advertising, especially with the influx of social media apps on mobile devices. Being a solution-minded fellow and very fond of the of the 60s culture, I love how bulletin boards add to the ambience of local coffee shops, grocery stores, community buildings and laundromats. Although it may be a silly approach, I thought of a fun, interactive way to bring more attention to the creatively designed flyers – by having a big question mark on the back of it, facing out. Based on the curiosity and suspense alone, I think more people would walk up, flip it over and read it. In addition, as a community, it would be a fun way to keep the bulletin board culture alive and share the posted information with friends or family who may be interested in the messages or services offered. In turn, this would also support our small groups, entrepreneurs, independent businesses, and locals who use these bulletin boards to connect with the community.