Dear Signs: I Don’t See You Anymore

In the 1960’s when advertising took off globally, mass media worked, radio sold advertising, TV was one of the best mediums, billboards commanded your attention, then it hit a tipping point.  At a certain point in time advertising became too much, I’m not sure when it was but it was at that point when we had to start ignoring ads.  This video clip from marketing guru Seth Godin sums up why marketers have lost our attention.  I like ads, I like questioning marketing campaigns but for the first time the other day I caught myself ignoring ads.  It was a fascinating trip to the grocery store that proved for myself how hard it is to get a message across, even when it’s staring you in the face.

Just like everyone else in our world that doesn’t shop at Safeway, I received bad service at a grocery store.  Such a bad experience drove me to going to their website and trying to give them feedback as to why I was unhappy leaving their establishment.  During the feedback questionnaire one question caught me off guard, “Did you notice any signage talking about 1000 flavors of Canada?” I reflected on my visit and couldn’t remember seeing anything so I selected “no”.

A week passes and I’m in the area of this super market again with nothing else close by to patronize instead. In a hurry I decide to pick up something to eat.  Entering the super market I recall the survey I took so I look for “1000 flavors of Canada”.  Little to my surprise was that the entire store was covered with these signs and I didn’t see one of them in my previous visit, not even one sign.

I finally understood what Mr. Godin was talking about.  This grocery store was trying to interrupt me with their signs.  It didn’t matter the size or location, I wasn’t looking for them so I didn’t see them.

Just because our eyes see something does not mean our brains remember it.  Our generation is getting increasingly better at ignoring messages that we don’t want to remember.  Therein lies the power of the internet, it is there for when I want something, until then don’t bother interrupting me with your message.

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