In this age of highly targeted, programmatic, personalized advertising, it can seem quaint to see someone spinning a sign to plug a local business.
However, ‘quaint’ is just about the last word you’d use to describe the actions of the employees at AArrow Sign Spinners.
The company started in a college dorm room, with two aims: “create jobs for our friends and turn sign spinning into a global sport”.
The ‘get friends jobs’ goal was definitely smashed: AArrow has employed more than 10,000 people over the years and boasts offices in 26 US cities, as well as nine other countries – including one in Sydney.
As for turning sign spinning into a global sport, well they’re certainly building something. There are 500 officially listed tricks and AArrow recently hosted the 11th annual World Sign Spinning Championship in Las Vegas this April.
This year’s championship was taken out by Kendrick Washington, earning the Hyattsville, Maryland native $5000 in prize money and the honour of now sitting atop the 2018 World Rankings.It was no fluke either, with Kendrick saying he spends hours every week off the clock working on his spinning technique.
“There’s a lot more to this than what you see on the corner,” Mike Patterson, CEO of a number of AArrow Sign Spinners franchises, told Vice.
“A lot of our guys make highlight videos, they’re all on social media and challenge each other back and forth. I’m 35, and I still challenge people, because it’s a matter of pride for us.
“If we’re gonna be out there, we wanna be the best advertising force in the world. When you see someone out there with a sign and you think, ‘Man, I would hate to have that job,’ we’re doing everything we can to avoid looking like those kind of people.”