An index card stapled to a sign on the Garden State Parkway caught my attention the other day.

I was driving on the Parkway and headed-off at Exit 44 by Stockton College in Galloway Wednesday afternoon. While I was sitting at the red light at the end of the ramp, I happened to look over and I saw a very small sign stuck to a wooden pole.

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Typically you see big signs stuck in the dirt or a bigger sign nailed to a telephone pole -- this wasn't either of those. This was an unprotected index card stapled to a sign in a place where no one would ever see it.

Let me put this into perspective -- it's a little 3×5 index card stuck to the sign way over there where no one ever crosses the road or has time to read it while they're driving. And, it's parallel to the road so you can only see it if you are the first car stopped at the light. And that light changes pretty quickly.

Index card location - Photo: Google Maps
Index card location - Photo: Google Maps

As luck would have it, the light changed and holding up traffic over an index card wouldn't have won me any awards from my fellow motorists.

That was Wednesday afternoon.

Remaining perplexed about this little index card, I drove back there Thursday morning. But being on Pomona Road, I couldn't stop to see the sign without getting on the southbound Parkway, driving down to the service plaza by Exit 41, hooking a U-turn, and driving back to Exit 44.

By now, I've invested a great deal of time and thought about this little index card. And since I've been overthinking it for almost an entire day, I was becoming more and more curious as to what it said. Something witty? Something stupid (like, "did you really think something intelligent would be stuck to a sign on a Parkway ramp")?

No. It's someone looking for a roommate.

Mysterious sign on the Garden State Parkway - Photo: Chris Coleman
Mysterious sign on the Garden State Parkway - Photo: Chris Coleman

Let's, for a moment, talk about the fundamentals of advertising. Whatever it is that you are advertising, you want to make sure your message gets seen and heard. You do that by putting your advertisement in a place where people will see and hear it.

On the surface, this little index card violates the basic rules of advertising. No one will ever see it and this person will never get a response. However, it succeeds at one other way -- it does something to bring attention to itself. It gets people (let's be honest, "person" -- that being me and only me) to think about it and wonder about it.

And now that this person, who is looking for a roommate (female freshman preferred) with most utilities included for a mere $800/month, whose insignificant 3×5 index card would have gotten no attention and therefore no response is now the focus of a blog that thousands of people will read.

Index card - Photo: Chris Coleman
Index card - Photo: Chris Coleman

I'll let you guess at the phone number. And if this index card is your creation, you're welcome.

And a finders fee would be a nice gesture.

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