Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bringing the crowd to you

Last week whilst walking down Tottenham Court Road, I saw or rather a heard a clever marketing ploy. A woman with a small ice cream stand, was ringing a bell to attract attention to her stand.

Two things struck me, firstly what a clever ploy to get people to spot her amongst the crowded retailers. Using noise to draw attention is hardly new; go to most fruit and veg markets and you'll be confronted by the wails of stall holders trying to draw you in to buy their goods. But in an environment where there is no 'marketing' noise it really stood out. Whether she knew it or not, she was employing a clever communication channel.

The second thing that made me smile, was the use of old technology, in a world where everyone seems to embracing new technology (which I'm all for), here she was ringing a bell, like the town criers of yesteryear. Now whether the bell was the best sonic device (although I'm not convinced some clever ice-cream jingle would have done any better), is neither here nor there, what was refreshing was this sense of old-worldlinness.

This has led me to think about other media, perhaps we should be applying some of these mechanisms to stand out in different media. There might well be a town crier principle for online, or ringing posters. Having said that, if everyone is moaning about the proliferation of advertising media, I'm not sure they'll thank us if they started making noises too!

Anyway I digress, the question is from a retail perspective did it work? Yes, I bought an ice cream, and no it wasn't very nice.

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