Advertising / Experiential

The humble Sandwich Board. A creative opportunity in a post-digital age.

I believe that the humble sandwich board is one of the most under used creative marketing opportunities available.

To most people the words ‘sandwich board’ makes them think of annoying, trippy-up wooden things that advertise Happy Hour outside their local pub. And they’d be right. But let’s face it, there’s LOTS of poorly conceived, badly executed advertising out there. (Granted, most of it’s not capable of tripping you up…)

But I believe that the sandwich board is on the dawn of a new age.

So much so in fact, that I think D&AD should create a new category in their annual awards in recognition of the creative potential of this underused medium. But before I start collecting signatures and pestering D&AD, let me make my case for why sandwich boards could be the hot creative property of 2013.

They’re budget friendly.

Client feeling the pinch? Not a problem.  £60 will get you up and running with a black sandwich board and abox of coloured chalks. That’ll keep the procurement people happy.

They’re fully interactive.

In this post-digital age, interactivity has taken on a whole new meaning. There are few better examples than this walking, talking sandwich board for the Amsterdam Torture museum.

Torture Sandwich Board

Interactive advertising at its best

It moves. It answers questions. It poses for photographs. It imparts information. And it may even let you throw rotten vegetables at it. Fun for all the family.

They’re tactical.

By current standards, traditional advertising is very slow to react, whereas social media is almost instantaneous. Even the best ad agency will take 12 hours to turn an ad round and get it in the next day’s newspaper. And as for a poster – forget it.

This is where the sandwich board excels. No other traditional advertising format can respond as quickly.
For example, there’s making fun of Mitt Romney’s wonderful “…binders full of women…” gaffe.

Poor old Mitt Romney

Poor old Mitt Romney

Or offering an escape from the wave of terror unleashed by Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy

And on a more basic level, there’s making sure litter bugs didn’t spoil the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Pret Golden Jubilee

Pret Golden Jubilee

They’re sociable.

The world’s gone Twitter mad. Everyone’s communicating with everyone else.
Which is why these two boards work so well.
I defy anyone to walk past either of them without posting them on Facebook, Tweeting about them, or at the very least, mentioning them to their friends…

Fat & Ugly?

Fat & Ugly?

Pirates ahoy

Pirates ahoy

They’re unique.

Creatives LOVE special builds. Unfortunately they’re usually prohibitively expensive and take ages to make. Or are they?
These examples are real eye catchers that will stand out on the High Street. (And you could probably knock them up in your garage).

Bend over backwards

Bend over backwards

Tea anyone?

Tea anyone?

Kick-ass karate board

Kick-ass karate board

They build brands.

If you want to get your brand values across quickly, a sandwich board is perfect.
Simply scribble on your mission statement, point of view, or thought for the day.
Then stick it outside your door.
And the great thing is, if you change your mind. All you need is a damp cloth and a box of chalk and you can start all over again. Genius.

Happy licking

Happy licking

Wise words

Wise words

Norfolk hospitality

Norfolk hospitality

They can tell a story.

 There are few quicker ways of bringing a dewy tear to a copywriter’s eye than mentioning long-copy ads. The golden days when the likes of Indra Sinha and Tim Delaney wrote ads that took longer to read than a copy of The Sun.

Well, despair ye not frustrated copywriters everywhere.

Polish your nibs and get scribbling. This little gem I spotted on Great Marlborough St, London, should whet your appetite.

Flat Planet

Long copy’s not dead

And finally, an appeal for help.  If you happen to come across a sandwich board that you think is an outstanding example of A-framed creativity,  please do send it on to me. I’ll make sure and forward it to D&AD.

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