retail news in context, analysis with attitude

I think I have been living near Washington, DC, for too long.

Driving through the Philadelphia area recently I saw two billboards with a simple white message on a black background: “I Hate Steven Singer!”

So I assumed Singer had to be a member of Congress.

I was wrong.

Shawn Ravitz, a local retailer who was showing Kevin Coupe and me stores in the area on our way to a New York Mets-Philadelphia Phillies game, explained the details. Steven Singer, he said, is a local jewelry store and the billboards are a clever ad campaign. In fact, when I asked why people hate Steven Singer, Ravitz replied, “and the ad worked again.”

I’m no advertising specialist, but I do understand the key is to make a lasting impression. Singer’s ads definitely do that, although sadly you don’t get the story behind the campaign unless you find just the right spot on the company’s website. (It involves an anniversary ring, a new child nine months later and a tired father/husband.) By using a creative billboard campaign, Singer no doubt has managed to establish his company’s presence in the marketplace and give it a clear identity, even if on first viewing the billboards are anything but clear.

It reminds me of a great line from the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie, when a British officer pronounced Captain Jack Sparrow “the worst pirate I’ve ever heard of.”

Sparrow’s response: “But you have heard of me.”

And that’s my Friday morning Eye-Opener.

- Michael Sansolo
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