News / Economy

Merchants Put New Spin on Advertising

Merchants Put New Spin on Advertisingi
X
July 01, 2013 3:15 PM
Billboards, signs and posters remain an important way for business owners to advertise their goods and services. But in many cities across the United States, some of these signs are not stuck in the grass or hung up on a wall - they are in constant motion thanks to sign spinners. People spin signs of all shapes and sizes, in all directions, to attract the attention of both pedestrians and car drivers. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Faiza Elmasry
Horacio Moreno, 25, stands on a street corner in a Washington suburb, with a white and red sign made of heavy cardboard. He twists it behind his back, then tosses it above his head, doing some dance moves before catching it and twirling it again. He has been spinning signs for five years.
 
“There is a lot of money being made in advertising," he says.

The income, however, is not the only reason Moreno loves his job.

“I have the most fun doing what I’m doing," he said. "I don’t have to worry about having a boss, like telling me to do my job better. Every day I have people telling me I’m doing a great job.”

Moreno works for Arrow Advertising. Michael Patterson is president of its Washington D.C. branch. His college roommate started the company after getting a job holding a sign on a street corner, advertising a local business.

“The problem with holding signs is you hate yourself, you hate your life," he said. "It really looks like the worst job in the world. He realized that by moving the sign around a little bit, the movement attracted more attention, more sales and more traffic.”

After graduating, he went home to San Diego, California, and founded Arrow Advertising. The friends stayed in touch.
 
“He came back to Georgetown in 2001 and said, ‘Hey, Patterson, I bet this concept would work on the East Coast also.' We said 'Let’s see what we can do with it,'" Patterson said. "Here we are, 12 years later, we’re in 11 countries and 49 cities, at this point. We’ve hired thousands of sign spinners in the last seven, eight years.”

Sign Spinners promote all sorts of businesses, large and small.

“We’ve advertised for every industry you can think off," Patterson said. "Our bread and butter is primarily the real estate industry.”

One of his clients is an apartment building in Arlington, Virginia.

“What we do is basically leasing and with the sign spinners that helps generate traffic for us,” said manager Vincent Stanton, who hired Arrow Advertising spinners more than a year ago.

To attract attention and traffic, sign spinners need to get noticed, and that requires learning a few tricks, as well as the basics of how to spin a sign, while jumping around and dancing.

Arrow Advertising offers classes to help local high school students master those skills. Most of the students are young men, but not all.

Estefanie Amaya, 16, has been training for seven months.

“Sometimes it’s like, ‘No, the girl can’t spin,' but then I show them and then they are amazed," she said. “My cousins and my brothers, they started doing it around me. So I was interested in it. I wanted to learn. During the summer, I’ll be working on weekdays and on weekends.”

Sign spinning is not as easy as it looks.

“The first couple of months, it could be actually pretty grueling and hard, you get a lot of scars, a lot of bruises, but it’s all part of the game," said Moreno.

There are rules for effective sign spinning.

“If we do it too fast, no one can read the message," Patterson said. "So our guys are actually trained to pause the sign at certain points, to make sure the cars passing by can read the message. We’re not stale advertising. We’re always brand new advertising, everytime you see us, no matter who we are advertising for.”

Being dynamic and innovative, Patterson said, is the secret behind sign spinning as a growing trend in advertising.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
July 03, 2013 5:09 AM
I am sorry but I do not know what I should comment to this job. I agree it must be actually pretty grueling.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7866
JPY
USD
109.25
GBP
USD
0.6139
CAD
USD
1.1120
INR
USD
61.428

Rates may not be current.