The other day I taught a workshop at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The on-campus parking situation is notoriously bad, with very few visitor spots available and full-up faculty and student lots. I knew this was the case, so I arrived early to give myself time to find a spot.
But the situation seemed particularly grim that day, because in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the campus every single car had a bright orange parking ticket stuck to its window. So naturally I kept moving until I found a different neighborhood a couple of blocks from WPI where nobody was getting ticketed.
After my workshop, I mentioned to my host that the parking had been very tough that day due to the hyper-vigilant traffic cops in the area. But I had to laugh when she told me that those hadn’t been parking tickets, but were in fact leaflets that had been stuck to all the cars.
Depending on the product or service being advertised, leaflet marketing can be a very effective way to get attention, and it’s a lot cheaper than a mailing. I wonder, though, if the intent of the advertisers was to mimic a parking ticket. I guess it could produce a wave of relief and a chuckle on the part of the drivers who found them on their cars. On the other hand, people might have been angry to have been fooled and made upset at getting a ticket and a fine. I could see it going either way.
The moral of this story is to be mindful of the effect your advertising is going to have. And if your leaflet looks just like a parking ticket, make sure that has something to do with the product or service you’re promoting!