What is the sound of one piston slapping?
What is the sound of one piston slapping?

So, I’m not a business person. At all. But for the moment let’s set aside my lack of qualifications and discuss one particular facepalm.

For those of you not lucky enough to live near one, Culver’s is a pretty decent chain of restaurants with a pretty decent menu and one absolutely genius marketing strategy.

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Near me, there are at least a dozen restaurants within a reasonable driving distance. Each day, each location has a special ice cream flavor of the day. While there’s some overlap, mostly each one has a different flavor of the day.

So now, each day there are nearly a dozen different special flavors in driving distance, and each day I have to resist the temptation to drive across town to find one of my favorites. I even have an app to tell me what’s available, which I can assure you has done my diet no favors.

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So not only does each restaurant have a hook to reel in unwary drivers as they pass by on their way home from work, by way of the big sign out front trumpeting their flavor of the day, but people will drive no small distances to a location that has something particularly good. Genius.

Except.

Except sometimes people forget that analog is better than digital, and I’ve noticed some locations falling into this trap.

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This is a classic Culver’s location and sign. All day long, this sign tempted people who happen to like caramel pecan ice cream, unlike me (I rather dislike nuts).

Illustration for article titled Ice cold business strategies
Photo: Culver’s
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This is a sign outside the Culver’s in Avon, Indiana tonight.

Illustration for article titled Ice cold business strategies
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Notice anything wrong?

For starters, hello illegibility! Dear heavens is that a low resolution sign, with terrible contrast colors. Good luck reading that and getting tempted to stop as you’re driving by. I was going there specifically for that flavor and I couldn’t read it.

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But it gets worse.

This is a different angle, sorry, but notice the key difference other than that.

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Now for part of the time the sign isn’t even telling people what flavor it is, although if you can decipher the muddy photo you can hazard a guess.

But it gets worse.

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That’s right, 1/3rd of the time the sign isn’t telling you anything about the flavor of the day. I’m happy for Alexis, but she’s not the draw here.

Look, the point of flavor of the day is to bring people in. Your (I assume massively) expensive digital sign is doing so much worse of a job than the classic analog version. 2/3rds of business hours (arguably all of your business hours, given how illegible it is) people driving by have no idea what your special is!

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New isn’t always better. Sometimes the old solution is the right one. Don’t be a schmuck.

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