“Got Dead Fish?”

How a pet shop sign changed my view of modern-day advertisements

Most good advertisements start off with something catchy, right? How about if you saw a sign outside a pet shop that read: “Got Dead Fish? Why? Ask us?” The Hutch Pet Shop located on Lake Street in Kent, Ohio is where I spotted a sign that struck me. It’s also home to a lot of furry and aquatic creatures. Before seeing this oddly worded sign, I had the mindset that all advertisements were good advertisements. After I talked with Tami Bongiorni, Kent State University’s Advertising Manager, and got a better understanding of good ads I started thinking deeply about the effects of modern society on the way we enjoy advertisements.

Music: Amazing Plan — Distressed by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Effective advertisements often clearly state the purpose for the ad and have a direct path to reach its target audience. For this advertisement to have been more effective, the owners could have mentioned wanting the dead fish first and elaborated on their purpose further down on the sign to make their purpose clearer. If not for the video above, you still wouldn’t know the owners purpose for the sign and would have to go in the store yourself to find out. Although the signs purpose was to draw in costumers, the downside is that it can deter people away from the shop for the sake of bizarreness. Good advertisements are put in a hierarchy of what’s important, per Tami Bongiorni, Kent State University Advertising manager. This kind of structure allows the information to flow more easily as a potential costumer reads it.

Since 2008 traditional advertising methods, such as outdoor ads, newspapers and broadcast television have steadily decreased while online ad usage has increased by 42%, according to an article published in 2015 on digitalnetagencynetwork.com. With the age of social media in full swing, who wouldn’t want to shop somewhere that has cool Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter updates. Or even nice ad’s that pop up on your social media news feeds. Many things crossed my mind when I spotted that sign outside of the Hutch Pet Shop. The first thing was what most people had thought after seeing it for the first time, “What do they want with those fish?” The second thing being, “Where are their social media plugs?”

With millennials growin g up in a time centered around mobile devices and their capabilities, a solid social media presence is an important must-have. You would think that because the pet shop owner is older, the shop wouldn’t have a social media presence but it does! Believe it or not, people over 65, make up 52% of social media users today, according to an analysis published in May of 2016 by Jeffery Gottfried and Elisa Shearer. Although the Hutch Pet Shop has a social media presence, it does not utilize it to its full capacity.

This advertisement outside of a humble pet shop has taught me the value of sustaining an online social media presence, especially for advertising. Aside from everyday chatting with friends, social media is now used for many useful things. For shop and business owners, a better online presence can ultimately mean more revenue and a direct path to a target audience through ads on sites like Facebook. As for entrepreneurs, online platforms such as LinkedIn or even Tumblr can broadcast a person’s many interests and skill-sets that potential start-up loaners or mentors can look at for a more personal background. It has become very common for people to google or look-up something before visiting or spending any money at an establishment, so it’s very important that a business keeps up its online reputation to satisfy costumers.