We’ve seen the Bay of Thrones trending recently, and Walmer is quite a feature here with its Queen Denise Theron – The Queen of Water Road, the better part of Mill Park, and the retail metropolis that is Walmer Park.

But a little nuance that wasn’t mentioned was ‘The War of the Sandwich Boards of Walmer’.

How does this relate to content marketing, you ask? Well, most people think of content marketing as a digital discipline only. It’s not. Anything that engages your current or potential clients with useful and/or humorous and/or intelligent information that builds loyalty, could be classified as content marketing. Such are the sandwich boards of Main Road, Walmer in Port Elizabeth where Magpie Marketing is based.

Let me set the scene. In the leafy middle class suburb of Walmer, Port Elizabeth, runs a pumping artery called Main Road, complete with hooting taxis and the like. Main Road, whilst still quite residential, has an array of businesses that occupy its tree-lined way. There are many trendy coffee shops and restaurants, several boutique-style outlets, a supermarket, a town hall and library (a throwback to its independent past), police station, schools and a church and several other useful establishments and businesses. It has, over the past decade, become quite a hive of activity.

On this road are also situated two retail outlets, about a block or two from one another – each displaying a sandwich board on the pavement. On my many drives down Main Road – from home to the office, to clients, gym, to visit family or grab a coffee, I am often both amused and disappointed at the same time. You see, these sandwich boards have, in my mind, started a scorecard against each other. I judge which has the best content every time I drive past them. And again when I drive back (they have different inscriptions on opposite sides of the boards). There is a clear winner – Every. Single. Time.


The 2-second rule

The winner on my scoreboard seems to have a clear understanding that traditional forms of outdoor advertising have between 2 and 5 seconds for the viewer to read the message. Whilst this is not traditional advertising, the ‘winner’ keeps their content short and sweet. Result – I can easily read it as I pass swiftly at 60 (ok sometimes 70) k/ph. The 2nd placer (let’s not call them a loser), however, always has a deep and meaningful sentence or long special offer – as I zooooooom past I can barely catch two words of it.

I can see clearly now

The loser – ag shame – without fail, uses a cursive, twirly whirly handwriting, and although rather pretty, is not that legible. But kudos to the person who’s writing it for keeping it consistent. The winner, on the other hand Darren, uses a large ‘print’ form writing, which is very easy to spot and therefore read.

Tickle the funny bone

The one thing that is a great hook in any form of content or traditional marketing is humour. People love to laugh. Full stop. Especially at the government…..ha ha…. Our ‘winner’ is always coming up with really witty puns – even when they wrote ‘RIP pun’ (insert LOL here). Most of them are on fleek with regards to current affairs. A more memorable one recently was the ‘now we have 2 mad Bobs’ in reference to our deputy mayor. I don’t think I need to explain the rest.

The ‘other shop’ is really trying to inspire people to greatness, but unfortunately, the funnies always get the feels. And as a result, the memory. And what do we want in marketing? People to remember our brand.

It was rather unfortunate then, that one of my clients’ revamped sandwich boards were not ready yet when the Nambian Covfefe meme trended on social media (said client sells coffee). It would have certainly given my scoreboard leader a run for their mula.

Everyday my journey is made easier, lighter and funnier by the winning sandwich board. I hope they continue and look forward to seeing more of these along Main Road as they vie for top spot.

I’m looking forward to my drive home to see who wins the next point in ‘The War of the Sandwich Boards of Main Road’