Sign Spinners and Human Directionals in the News


Latest news featuring sign spinners, human directionals
and sign events in the advertising industry.

More sign event news is available on our blog.

Sign spinning makes effective marketing - By Lynn Davidson, Staff Writer - You've seen them -- people standing on roadsides in the heat or cold holding up signs in hope of luring customers to a nearby business...

...Little Caesars Pizza calls it "shakerboarding," and We Buy Gold calls them "sign spinners." Brandon Hills, the manager of Little Caesars on Wrightsboro Road, says it's "guerrilla marketing" at its finest. "And it's efficient," Hills added. We Buy Gold Manager Samantha Murdaugh said she has a questionnaire for all customers, and one of the questions asks how they heard about the company. Even though the company advertises on radio, the Internet, newspapers and Coupon Clipper, along with relying on referrals, almost all of the customers answer that they "saw the silly guy in the green hat." (08/13/11)

On The Go: Human Directionals. WDUNTV video (7/14/11)

All Signs Point to a Unique Job Featured - Written by Fred Couzens THP Reporter -- Remember the faux chicken standing on the corner, winging it as he flapped drivers down for a three-piece lunch? And what about the guy dressed up like the Statue of Liberty who had a lock on motorists' attention? Then there was the mechanic waving his arrow to try to get the passing procrastinator to slide in for a lube and oil change. They're all there, on weekends especially, rocking, spinning and twirling those advertising arrows and signs, hoping to get more customers for the businesses they represent. They're sign spinners, or what's more commonly called in the trade, human directional signs (6/30/11)

Business owner uses sign spinner to generate traffic to her business in Colorado Springs, CO. (6/28/11)

Human billboards twirl some controversy - Cities nationwide are struggling to adapt to a new advertising gimmick: the art of human billboards. But critics says distracted driving and safety should be taken into account. (6/24/11)

Cities, businesses go round and round on twirling signs of the times - By Colleen O'Connor -- The Denver Post - A move to regulate sign-twirlers in Thornton so angered small-business owner Brian Thornton that he immediately organized a petition drive to block it, saying that the city has "declared war on churches, small business and schools."
But the city is just trying to keep up with the times, said Thornton spokesman Todd Barnes.
"Our sign code was silent before, . . . so when the code was slated to be revised, we felt that somewhere we should acknowledge the phenomenon of holding signs, since it seems to be gaining steam, not losing steam," Barnes said.
The debate in Thornton mirrors those in cities nationwide where men and women spin signs and dance on street corners to lure customers to things as diverse as condominium complexes and church car washes. (6/21/11)

I Heart Sign Spinners - Why am i rambling about sign spinners on corners? PROBABLY because they have the coolest jobs around. no seriously. this is what they do all day guys: get tan from being out in the sun, dance like nobody is watching (i'm pretty sure that saying is in someone's house right this second), PLUS they get to listen to music ALL day. um, hello?! sign me up. (4/28/11)

Sign Spinning as extreme sport - Getting the attention of drivers is a skilled that learned, as seen in this video by George Skene of the Orlando Sentinel.
April 22, 2011 | By George Skene, Orlando Sentine l There seems to be a proliferation of people standing by busy highways ranging from people in Statue of Liberty costumes to others in solid gold clad suits. This guerilla advertising is in full swing, drawing attention to the businesses just off the road.
The competition for drive-by attention has spawned the athletic subset known as sign spinners. (4/22/2011)

Sign ordinance changes move ahead to Vista City Council - By Aaron Burgin -- The City Council approved sweeping changes to the sign code in October, but asked planning staff to refine several areas of the code.
Sign spinners
, who were going to be outlawed under an earlier proposal, will be allowed. But their signs can be no longer than 6 feet, and they can only operate from sunrise to sunset and cannot stand in the street or impede pedestrians. (4/20/2011)

Tax Day: Sign spinners got your attention? -- TAMPA, Florida -- Those guys dressed as the Statue of Liberty aren't out there for nothing.
Even in a tough economy -- or maybe, in part, because of it -- there's no shortage of people standing with signs at the side of the road these days. Sometimes they're called spinners.
You've no doubt seen them singing, dancing, and waving their wares, hoping to boost business.
David McIntyre says he has 15 stores in the Bay area, and spends $300,000 a year on about 50 sign holders. They're out standing there eight hours a day, seven days a week. They're worth every penny, says McIntyre. (4/14/2011)

Here come the sign spinners - Victoria Stewart - They move like breakdancers but, instead of balancing on their hands, these guys hold signs in them. You won't have seen this troupe of Californian street performers before but they are coming to London.
The idea of sign spinning is to get people's attention by performing a variety of tricks with the signs and, once this is achieved, to interact with the audience, creating a highly effective one-on-one advertising experience. (4/11/2011)

Sign walkers are on full display on Bell Road in Arrowhead, their flamboyance encouraged to turn motorists into shoppers. (12/25/10)

A sign of the times: Street-corner twirlers drive business in Glendale - ...Dennis Keizer, co-owner of California based Advanced Advertising Promotions, said sign walkers are effective because someone holding a sign and moving energetically captures peoples' attention. Keizer said sign walkers are encouraged to dance, spin their sign and dress flamboyantly. It's about doing as much as possible to drive business and attract impulse buyers. "It's taking advantage of customers already in their car," Keizer said. "Once they're in their car, you've already won half the battle of getting them in your store." (12/23/10)

5 Lessons We Can All Learn from Sign Twirlers for Our Business:: The Collective Savvy - Author: Cassie Bair - There's something I love about watching sign twirlers. I'm not talking the long-suffering ones that appear to be a bored employee, humiliated to be stuck outside in some kind of mascot costume and horrified because they don't know any cool sign twirling tricks. I'm talking the ones that draw the eye because they are rocking the house with their moves and ingenious twirling capabilities. And it occurred to me the other day we could all learn a few things from a good sign twirler: (12/16/10)

Grimes chosen to be new Mayor - (Tehachapi, CA) ...David James, Community Development Director, introduced an amendment to the ordinance relating to signs and banners. This item had been tabled at the July 19 meeting for further review. The items for review were Main Street Tehachapi's downtown banners and sign walkers (or "spinners").
On the banner issue, James said, "We are working on solutions but have nothing specific at present to the council on this at this time."
The issue of sign walkers had been raised both as a safety and as an aesthetic issue.
"The Planning Commission had approached the sign walkers from a purely aesthetic issue, "James said. "And it was concluded that we really didn't want sign walkers in the downtown. Downtown is the heart of our community and it's not really the kind of dignified thing we want to see a sign walker on the corner of Green and Tehachapi Boulevard. However, they had no real issue with sign walkers in the strip mall areas.
"Staff has addressed the issue with Police Chief Jeff Kermode and it was concluded there's no genuine evidence of sign walkers presenting a public safety issue.
Discussion included comments that the ordinance should be kept as is and there should be better enforcement. Local business owner Ken Hetge said, "There are too many variables. On one side we're going one direction with sign and signboards and sign walkers. On the other side we're talking about banners. I think this particular issue needs some additional review due to the fact that we're still in a recessionary period." (12/15/10)

(VIDEO) Business Owner Protests Sign-Spinning Ban - CASSELBERRY, Fla. -- The city of Casselberry has already banned so-called "sign spinners" who try to draw you into businesses. Now, one business owner is using news signs to protest the ban.
Sign-holders lining 17-92 are hardly what the city of Casselberry could've expected when it banned human sign-spinners recently. Then again, the city probably wasn't expecting Cash 4 Gold owner Lei Keene either.
"I will fight it legally. I want to do everything I can. I need to stay in business. Those people need to work," Keene said.
"I got five kids at home. This is the only job I have right now to keep myself going," Cash 4 Gold employee Laron Colberg said. (12/14/10)

Sign walkers get OK : By Staff reports - The Rolla Daily News Rolla, Mo. -- The Rolla City Council decided not to regulate people who carry signs advertising businesses. Five of the seven council members present decided to amend the ordinance by dropping the section regarding "sign walkers," and then all seven voted to approve what was left. (12/10/10)

Signage - A couple of months back, we got one heck of a kick in the karma (in a good way). We're super lucky to have talented friends (this clearly completely dispels that dirty myth about opposites and attracting) and they came through for us in a BIG way. We'd been needing to amplify our "hey, we're really a shop; come in!" vibe for a bit. I, for one, was a huge proponent of hiring a fleet of sign spinners. (12/09/10)

Gold buyer sues sheriff over Alief citations - Sheriff deputies are being sued for allegedly shaking down sign-spinning day laborers. Gold & Silver Buyers says it employed Rameriz, a day laborer, to spin signs at store locations 530 S. Mason Road and 14498 Bellaire St. Gold & Silver Buyers' sign spinners stand on private property, holding signs with the company's business slogans. According to the brief, the defendants used trumped-up Texas Traffic Code violations to stop the plaintiffs from spinning signs. The plaintiffs claim that when a store manager attempted to protect Rameriz from the deputies, the deputies threatened to arrest him for insubordination. Gold & Silver Buyers and Rameriz state the defendants willfully and maliciously violated the Texas Constitution when they illegally detained Rameriz. (12/08/10)

Sign spinning fun way to earn money - Amber Pharazyn, Business Editor -- For decades, holding signs to attract customers has been a popular way to advertise. (12/07/10)

Jewelry sale in the Uncanny Valley - Video of a mechanical sign walker. (12/07/10)

More Pinellas businesses hiring people to wave signs - By Katherine Snow Smith, Times Staff Writer -- Maurice Germany, Westshore Pizza's standout sign holder, dances to Janet Jackson. The wavers dressed as the Statue of Liberty in front of Liberty Tax Service offices are inspired by a training video that teaches them to offer a peace sign to teenagers and a tip of the crown to senior citizens. Charles Davidson mostly just waves, often to people who wave back because they've come to know each other in a strange, familiar way. (11/17/10)

There's sign spinners and then there's this guy... - video (11/16/10)

Airport gas stations could face hefty fines - The owners of two gas stations near Orlando International Airport that charge twice the average for fuel could soon face $1,000-a-day fines. Although they have retained attorneys who claim the ordinance in in violation of state law, why would anyone stop at these stations and pay twice the going rates? An easy solution, is for other stations in the area to hire some sign spinners to stand at these stations with their own gas price on it and where to fill up! That should put these gougers out of business! (11/15/10)

Apartment marketing spinning into action.(Human Directionals) - We've all seen SIGN SPINNERS twirling and twisting a brightly colored sign advertising a special at a local business. (10/01/10)

Big Time Rush and Jonas Brothers - In Big Time Rush Big Time Job what is the first job Logan and Kendall get ? (04/2510)

Sign Spinners from Advanced Advertising Promotions and Spinners from around the region team up to shoot a television commercial for the new Ford Fiesta!

Workers battle with signs - By Tom Ragan - They say they are pointing out the unfairness of a city ordinance that allows sign twirlers but not day laborers. (02/1510)

SoCal sign twirlers promote swine flu shots - (02-11) 07:23 PST Riverside, Calif. (AP) -- Riverside County health officials are trying to drum up customers for swine flu vaccinations with a little show business.
Dancing sign twirlers have been posted near health clinics this week.
Riverside and neighboring San Bernardino County also are advertising the free vaccinations by radio, newspaper and on local movies screens.
There's been a drop in reported cases of the H1N1 illness and in the number of people being vaccinated.
But Riverside County health officer Dr. Eric Frykman says there could be another wave of infections and people should be prepared.
State health officials estimate that at least 5 million Californians have contracted swine flu and more than 500 have died. (02/09/10)

Hundreds of Swine Flu Vaccine Set To Expire - Reported by: Kimberly Cheng -- Riverside County public health officials are encouraging people to get vaccinated for Swine Flu. They have plenty of doses available. In fact, they may have too much.
Debra Santibanez, Nurse Manager with the County Family Care Centers in the valley, said Thursday hundreds of doses are set to expire in the next week. Santibanez said there's still a threat of Swine Flu. Those who would like to get vaccinated can stop by the Family Care Center, in Indioor Palm Springs. The vaccinations are free and available to the general public. The County is trying to get the word out. This week, sign twirlers will be out near the clinics directing traffic to the clinics. County officials are also setting up a vaccination clinic at the Date Festival in Indio, starting Friday...(02/08/10)

Sign Spinning 101: Jesse, The Human Directional - DeLeon DeMicoli -- "When I moved to California I noticed there were Human Directionals at almost every intersection. In Chicago they had people holding onto signs but they didn't have the same enthusiasm or sign twirling skills as Jesse. They looked bored, holding onto the sign like it was punishment."
Jesse says he does this day after day and he no longer sees himself as a person, but as an object. People throw everything at him. Soda bottles and cans. Lit cigarette butts. A shot gun spray of loose change. He says, "It sounds harmless but when junk is thrown at me at high speeds I can't help but see myself as a victim." (01/31/10)

For ages 14 and 15, what jobs can you work in ? - Yahoo Answers- Chosen by Voters
Most of the people around that age who I know have done sign twirling. You know, the advertisers on the street corners who twirl a giant arrow pointing to a business? Also, some YMCAs will hire you as a Swim Instructor, but they'll put you through certification first. (12/16/09)

An easy way to worsen a recession - by Clint Bolick, Goldwater Institute - Stroll into a car lot these days and you're sure to get a warm reception, maybe free popcorn and soft drinks, and definitely plenty of attention. Car dealers are among the businesses hardest-hit by the recession. (12/10/09)

Santa Ana City Place sign twirler hit by car, on Main St - As I was driving home on Friday, south on Main St., I wondered why the light was out at the intersection of Main and Town and Country - and why there were so many police around. It turns out that an out of control car hit a man twirling a sign advertising Original Hems, a tailor at the City Place shopping center. (10/24/09)

New sign ordinance on the horizon - Franklin planning commissioners were going to vote Thursday about the proposed new, tougher city sign ordinance, according to their agenda for Thursday's meeting. But I found out Monday that city staff were pulling the proposal from the city planning commission agenda so that the city attorney could read the proposal before it went to the commissioners for a vote. As I understand it, the new proposed Franklin sign law would not allow any "human directional signs". But what does that mean, exactly?(10/20/09)

Huntington Beach upholds ban on sign spinners - The economic decline isn't enough to persuade city officials to allow the ad twirlers, who they maintain are distracting to drivers.
Don't even think about hawking sub sandwiches or mattresses on a corner in Huntington Beach.
The economic free fall wasn't enough to persuade Surf City officials to allow those ubiquitous sign spinners onto their sidewalks. The twirlers, many equipped with flashy moves or costumes, are just too distracting to drivers, officials decreed this week.
Although a host of communities in California and beyond have prohibited sign holders in recent years, plunging sales and climbing unemployment spurred the Huntington Beach Planning Commission to revisit the ban.
"I just think it's unfair to pick out some businesses and say the kinds of signs they depend upon are illegal," said Joe Shaw, a former planning commissioner who voted to overturn the ban before he left the panel. "Especially in this economy, if they bring people to a business where they can spend money, all the better."
Though planning commissioners in December supported allowing the sign walkers, City Council members weren't convinced: They voted 5 to 2 on Monday to streamline Huntington's sign ordinance and to continue keeping ad spinners out.
"The signs are just getting larger and almost more obnoxious," said Councilman Don Hansen, who voted to uphold the ban. He described sign twirlers as "a form of visual blight."
Huntington Beach isn't the only Southern California city to consider sign wavers tacky. So-called human directionals have been outlawed in Fountain Valley, Irvine, La Habra, Lake Forest, Riverside and El Cajon, among other places. Tustin allows the sign holders under strict guidelines, including the mandate that "human signs shall not spin, twirl, swing or gyrate..." (02/06/09)

Gilbert to develop sign walker rules - A new state law is forcing Gilbert to allow sign walkers that town policymakers have long prohibited as unsightly and a safety hazard along the town roads. In response, the Town Council is scheduled on Tuesday to discuss whether to charge busineses a fee to use sign walkers, and whether town code should restrict the use of the signs, as other business signs are restricted. (03/30/08)

Furniture Style: What's the Best Way to Advertise? Published: February, 07 2008 By Thomas A. Prais - "If you're running a major event," he said, "pay whatever it takes to have sign walkers. There is no better draw in the promotional business than drive-by business." ~ Louis Shotten, President of American Furniture Promotions... (02/07/08)

Bill to reverse 'sign walker' ban returns - Brian Powell, Tribune - A state legislator is once again trying to overturn Scottsdale's decades-old ban on "sign walkers" who advertise auto dealers, housing subdivisions, and other businesses from city sidewalks and medians.
Rep. Bob Robson, R-Chandler, has introduced a bill for the second consecutive year that would force all municipalities to allow posting, displaying and using sign walkers.
Robson said he sees this as a First Amendment issue in which government is restricting free speech.
"A person on a street corner holding a sign, I don't think, is detrimental to the world," Robson said.
The bill also states municipalities may adopt reasonable time, place and manner regulations for public safety purposes, which Robson hopes will make it more agreeable to communities and the governor...(02/03/08)

Sign of the times: Bill would establish 'sign walkers' rights - Daniel Burnette - staff writer -- A bill in the state Legislature would prohibit cities from telling sign walkers to take a hike - at least off of public rights of way.
Sign walkers are those folks who use sandwich boards or hand-held signs for advertising. They're a mainstay throughout the Valley, advertising restaurants, subdivisions and the occasional furniture store that's "going out of business forever!"
Rep. Bob Robson, R-District 20, said his bill H2369 is designed to bring some consistency throughout the state on the regulation of sign walkers, "who are just people trying to make an honest living like everyone else."
"There's also an issue of free speech that I think is very important," Robson said. (3/13/07)

The Sign Shakers of Southern California - One of the things that I've always marveled about in Southern California is how many things that are automated in other areas of the country are done by real people in Los Angeles. You take your car to a carwash in Ohio, when you come out, you're left to dry it yourself. If someone dries it for you, it's called "detailing."
I guess the best example of this is the sign shakers. They stand on street corners at rush hour or weekends and hold a sign and wiggle it, to create excitement or attract our attention. They're signs for cell phone stores, going out of business sales, model home tours and pizzas... (07/17/04)

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