In pockets of the country, at city street corners, a curious thing can be seen among the motion of jackhammers, honking of cars and throngs of people passing by: sign spinners.
It’s not what it may sound like–that is, a neon or wooden sign, spinning around and around, thanks to an extension cord plugged in somewhere. Sign spinners are people holding signs, usually in the shape of an arrow, with a company’s name and logo emblazoned on it. At first, that may not seem like an improvement over a neon sign or a person walking around in a sandwich-shaped billboard, but these sign spinners take it up a notch with tricks, dancing and other acrobatics. It’s advertising, but it’s also something of a sport–even a performance art.
Sign spinners are quickly gaining status in the corporate world as a reputable and innovative way to promote a business. “We’ve used them for grand openings,” says Tyler L. Barnett, co-owner of Barnett Ellman LLC, a public relations and marketing firm in Los Angeles. Barnett has been hiring sign spinners to celebrate the opening of Cefiore, a nonfat yogurt restaurant chain that has been rapidly growing in Southern California. “The cars stop, they honk, they slow down. They really get a lot of attention. It’s a traffic stopper.”