Drive on just about any major street and you'll see them -- people holding, flipping, and spinning signs urging you to drive into their businesses. This new wave of guerilla or street marketing seemed to grow as the economy turned downward, but many businesses don't plan to drop it, even as the economy improves.
"We tested it, and next thing you know people came zooming right in," said Nicholas Vojnovic, president of Little Greek Restaurants. "This is kind of old school and classic marketing."
When Little Greek employees aren't serving salads or gyros, they're often sent to the street to wave a sign.
STYLE POINTS COUNT
On one recent early afternoon, Little Greek employee Joe Marquez was one of three sign-wavers from different businesses on a block of busy Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
Watch them and you soon realize that each has an individual style of getting the attention of passing drivers. One spins the sign, another shuffles and dances, while Joe waves and calls cars by brand.
"Hey Ford! Hey BMW! Lunch!" he yells.
"It's a ballet," said Marquez. "You have to get their attention, but at the same time, you have to watch what you're doing. You don't want to fall into the street."
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE
At least two local cities, Lakeland and St. Petersburg, have considered rules to limit sign waving and prescribe safe distances from traffic, but it hasn't dampened their enthusiasm. While a few advertising agencies have supplied sign-wavers, most businesses simply expand the duties of their employees to include sign waving.
When workers at Jiffy Lube aren't changing oil, you may see them out on the sidewalk with signs advertising open bays. And, at Little Greek restaurants, when they're not making gyros, they're guerilla advertising heroes, drumming up business with signs out on the street.