If you’ve driven in Downtown Bellevue recently you’ve likely caught a glimpse of the many stores that are going out of business.  The most visible sign of this are the street marketers with their liquidation signs.

When driving last Friday afternoon, I did a double take while passing the Galleria because there was another street marketer….only this time he was promoting Parlor Live.  I thought to myself The Parlor isn’t going out of business…is it?  Well no, it isn’t, but their marketing tactics might lead you to believe that.

Street marketing such as this seems to have negative associations tied to it, and it surprises me that a brand such as The Parlor, that typically tries to be premium or high-class in nature, would resort to this.  Recently The Parlor has been giving away free tickets to many of their weekend comedy shows to ensure a full audience.

Having a street marketer is likely a tactic to draw more traffic into their venue.  Is this a hopeless attempt or an effective solution?  Sound off in the comments section!



  1. i don’t like them at all, some guy standing there looking like his soul is being crushed does not make for positive associations

  2. Wonder why he’s not on the Kemper properties…they probably don’t allow it.

  3. Agreed — the Parlor has so many other premium ad spaces in other locations and publications. They could skip the uninspired streetside sign person. Besides, my favorite sandwich board person was the super-sunburned, cracked-out gal who’d dance-fever it up in Redmond. She made me really want to buy mattresses at half off!

  4. Hahaha thanks Michael for this great post!!

    Nothing like a crackhead sign holder in DT Bellevue to increase awareness….makes you just want to get the friends/family together and go see some great comedy and shoot some pool, huh?


  5. Don’t like ’em, but I have to admit they are effective. I’ve fallen for mattress/furniture/jewlery sales.

  6. I think these street marketers are not in keeping with the image of Bellevue being an up scale city. If we are going to allow them, why not big trashy billboards like they have through Tacoma? It’s not upscale at all. I associate these street marketers with poor quality or budget basement establishments and not successful places I want to be seen doing business with. Upper end establishments such as The Parlor doing this may get more visability, but the cost is to cheapen its brand. It appears to me that they are chasing the sales tactics of businesses that are failing rather than other successful establishments.

  7. The last comment is highly interesting, but how in todays economy can you expect only to rub shoulders with people who are successful? In todays market, however good people are at what they do, unfortunatley some will fail. Not every-one is successful, unfortunately.

  8. …and not everyone who earns a wage holding a sign is a crackhead.

  9. I think you’d find “street marketing” of some sort in almost any City across the country and maybe the planet. Realistically it doesn’t cost them a lot, ROI doesn’t have to be huge and more businesses should probably try it.

    At the same time, I think they would get much better results if they put a bigger focus on reaching people through social media and outside events.

  10. I find the street advertising does have negative associations and is completely in line with my view on Parlor brand value (low). Not as low as Lucky Strike though.

  11. What’s with the Parlor hatred? Is there some nicer east-side club I don’t know about that also has a fantastic comedy line up, pimped out lounge, pool tables, decent food, and a conference center?

  12. I am absolutely astonished at the snobbishness and disregard for a person earning a paycheck that I have read in these comments. Personally, the street marketers are doing a job. I don’t care either way whether I see them on a street corner or not because they don’t influence me one way or another. What is more important to me is that the sense of community be established in DT Bellevue like there once used to be! Come on!

  13. The point of the post has nothing to do with the people that are actually outside holding the sign, but instead questioning the business tactic of having street marketers.

  14. That isn’t Street Marketing. Sorry. Understand the definition before judgement.

  15. As I understand it, the question was “Having a street marketer is likely a tactic to draw more traffic into their venue. Is this a hopeless attempt or an effective solution?” Street marketing AKA: Guerrilla Marketing is simply unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources. In this regard, street marketing is indeed effective. The Parlor’s sign not only reminded those driving by that they exist, that they provide more entertainment than just pool, and coincidentally – they got us all talking about them! This is Guerrilla Marketing at its best. I applaud companies who are thinking outside the box to generate buzz. And, I applaud those that will stand hour after hour on concrete in all weather to earn that paycheck. Whatever you call it, street marketing is much more effective than no marketing but must be done consistently and in combination with other campaigns to be truly successful.

  16. Loma – Are there any times that you think that street marketing can hurt the reputation of an organization?