Unraveling Obfuscation

ob fus cate – 1. to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy 2. to make obscure or unclear

Under new management

Posted by Todd McKinney on July 3, 2008

I’ve probably been reading Seth Godin’s blog for too long. I’m starting to notice the marketing messages in common stuff that people usually ignore. Yesterday I drove by a convenience store that had a really large yellow banner with three big words that they really want the world to know. The sign read:



Now I’m sure that someone thought this would be a pretty compelling message, but when I read this I thought “what are they trying to say?”. My interpretation is this:

DELI – we’ll go broke if you just buy gas. Come inside and spend some money on high margin stuff. We’d hire a dancing bear if it would make you come in the store.

NEW MANAGEMENT – the people that used to run this place were completely incompetent. We’re a lot better, so forget anything that ever happened here that was a bad experience.

imageI don’t really have a problem with the “buy more stuff” pitch. That’s just market-driven capitalism and I wish them the best of luck selling sandwiches. The really odd thing to me is that if the primary feature that you want to promote about your business is that the people who used to be in charge have left, either the previous management created a horrific train wreck, or you don’t really have much to promote.

This message may be helpful in some extreme cases, but to me it almost seems like the nuclear option in promotion. Hunting around on Flickr, it does seem to be a fairly common message.


photo credit Robyn Gallagher


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