AArrow Advertising started out of a dorm room in California in 2002 with just $500 and has become the world’s largest guerrilla marketing company and a global sport. It is physically demanding and requires hours of practise to get to the point of perfection, much like any skill, especially in the performing arts.
I am a 3rd generation entertainer and have spent my whole life performing, whether it be musical theatre, children’s entertainment or even the circus. One thing that any performer will say, no matter what their chosen field is, is that what we do requires hours of practise, rigorous training and a passion for what you do. Of course these skills are required for every job in the world, you spend hours learning how to do something and then years perfecting it, whether in the office or dancing in a musical. Sign spinning came about in only 2002 and has delighted the world with a whole new take on advertising, a very physically demanding one. Sign spinning involves spinning an arrow shaped sign around your body, throwing it up in the air and can even involve acrobatics for the more complicated moves. Sign spinning took the very traditional job of holding a sign to new heights and made it into an art form, one of the main reasons I became so fascinated so quickly in this contemporary form of advertising.
There are over 500 tricks (and growing) in the sign spinning tricktionary, some more complicated than others, however there is so much more to it than meets the eye. From afar, the tricks are what catches your eye, but once you get closer you get a glimpse of the person behind the fancy trickery. The tricks you decide to perfect and how you link them all together comes down to the personality and character of each individual spinner. We point at people, we point at the sign and especially if we’re working amongst pedestrian traffic then we aim to make a connection with as many people as possible as they pass us by because we are not just a sign stuck onto a post, we are so much more than that. As a performer, our aim is to entertain and to take people away from reality, even just for a few seconds, something I aim to do each time I am out spinning, no matter what company I am representing.
I think this job is perfect for a lot of different people however as a performer I could not recommend it more to other performers out there as a job to keep fit or give yourself a chance to show your personality maybe while you’re in-between shows or a combination of both, it’s full of possibilities. I always take a speaker with me because music is the perfect background as it hypes up the crowd, it gives you momentum to keep pushing through a shift if you’re tired or in my case it keeps me dancing for hours. I always find I smile more with music as well and it creates a friendly and welcoming environment around a job that a lot of people turn their heads down at because they don’t want to be sold anything or stopped to sign a petition on their way to work. The wonderful thing about our job is we’re not asking for anything direct, nothing to sign or pay there on the street, we are merely spreading awareness about particular jobs or brands to help companies grow their business and clientele. I always talk to people, especially in the early morning shifts to see if I can squeeze a smile out of the 9 to 5 workers, sometimes all they need is a ‘hello’ or a ‘good morning’ and they look up from their phone and say hello back while also hopefully taking in the company name you’re spinning for without forcing anything onto them.
I find being a performer in a physically demanding job I know how to look after myself on shifts and thinking about longevity which is another reason why I continue to put fellow performers forward for the job because while it keeps you fit it also teaches you how to look after your body after continuous movement and extended hours of physical activity focussing on a particular area which in the case of sign spinning is predominantly the arms, shoulders and upper body. A large number of our spinners are not performers but they have amazing personalities and a willingness to learn something new which are two of the most important aspects of a good spinner. Anyone can learn a new skill with enough practise but personality and character traits follow you wherever you go, through every job and every day of your life and you can’t teach someone that, it’s what makes us all special and unique, and working with AArrow gives you the chance to explore and play while also learning really cool tricks and spending your days out in the fresh air instead of being cramped up inside all day.
If you see a sign spinner on the street, remember it’s ok to look up, because guaranteed they are smiling right at you with a big cheesy grin, performing a trick that took them hours to learn and most importantly, sharing a little of their personality with you, plus who doesn’t like a free show on your way to work.