Rants from the Crib

An Ob/Gyn gone mad

Blow Up Dolls

I am obviously cruising for attention with a title like this.  No,not THAT kind of blow up dolls.  But I bet I get a lot of hits on Google.  🙂  I am actually writing about inflatables, just not the ones you get at the naughty stores with the plain brown wrappers.  I am talking about the ones used in advertising.

My husband and I spend a lot of time contemplating the way businesses try to attract attention using inflatables and motion.  The Chevy dealership has the giant Santa at Christmas, another has a pink elephant blown up on the roof.  How do these things work?  What is the purpose of them?  A giant purple gorilla will catch a child’s attention, sure, but it is not the six year olds that buy the family cars.   I never heard of anyone buying a car because their child liked the blow-up doll on the dealership roof.

Then there are, of course, balloons and streamers, also which grab attention with bright color and movement.  I guess just getting someone to look in the direction of the store – after all, the human eye is drawn above all to motion – might cause them to notice a service that they had been looking for.  Maybe.  Again, they mostly seem to attract children.  Also, American flags are heavily used, presumably to cause a feeling of patriotism and a wave of  “if I buy this four-wheeler, surely I am aiding my country,” feeling.

Then, our favorite:  the air-filled tall skinny men with the blowers under them that cause them to bow and wave incessantly.  Again, I’m sure motion and color are the factors but, really?  Who has ever run into a store to buy something because there was a giant wavy guy in front of it?  My husband and I smirk every time we drive past one.  “Must… buy… something…” we croak.  “Must… get…a puppy…” 

After I wrote this, I went home and Googled inflatables.  The first thing that came up was a company that creates these inflatables specifically for various brands.  They had a list on their home page of reasons that inflatables work:

  • Drawing traffic to your location
  • Improving branding awareness
  • Increasing sales
  • Creating an emotional connection with consumers
  • Easy relocation
  • Affordability
  • Increasing media attention

I found a very interesting use for an inflatable here:

 Obviously, studies must have shown that gimmicks like this do get customers in.  If they didn’t,  businesses wouldn’t have them up front.  I would love to see those studies. Does anyone know anything about the advertising studies that show that these work?   Have any of you ever gone into a store and bought something because there was a giant wavy man or a pink elephant in front of it?


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