some people need to be snowglobed, bro

It’s rare that I don’t accept everything that Seth Godin posts as marketing gospel. But the more I think about it, the more I believe that his recent post about a TSA snowglobe sign is a bit off-the-mark.

I don’t know which airport he took the picture of the sign, but I think in certain high tourist density airports (MCO, LAS, JFK, LGA, IAD, DCA, etc) in the main tourist season, it makes perfect sense.

I’ve always found that signs (even the stupid ones) are put up after too many people (even the stupid ones) make the same mistake. The TSA probably has a snow globe problem with tourists (who for the most part are infrequent travelers).

I would venture while thinking about avoiding carry-on liquids, the snow globe souvenir doesn’t cross many minds as the hotel room is frantically being packed. The angry blog post in an alternate reality might read:

This week, I visited {Tourist Attraction} with my family. Coming home, we had packed my daughter’s snow globe souvenir in my carry-on so it wouldn’t get broken by the baggage handlers. Imagine my surprise after we check our luggage, the TSA employee said we couldn’t take it through in our carry-on. I guess I know it does, but who thinks about the liquid inside snow globes? We had to trash it right there at the checkpoint so we could catch our plane. She was heartbroken. How much effort would it take for a simple sign to alert people?

I’ve never experienced heartbreak at security after having to throw away my princess snow globe. But I bet it happens. (I did almost lose a pocketknife once, even though I knew the rules.)

Just because you’re not in the bulls eye target for the message — doesn’t mean the message is not needed.

Chris Houchens is a marketing raconteur & writer. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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3 comments on “some people need to be snowglobed, bro
  1. Good point you make here. I didn’t read it that way but I appreciate what you are saying.

    Although i thought we made up for stupid people signs with Bill Engvall, tourists or not, heres your sign

    • And I do agree with Seth’s bigger point. You don’t need to interrupt your audience unnecessarily. But if enough people are having problems, it’s best to provide some information.

      And I think Bill Engvall would be a great TSA employee! With Larry the Cable Guy as the steward and Foxworthy as the pilot.)

  2. Drew Hawkins says:

    This is totally true. The reason there are stupid warning labels is because somebody tried it…more than once.

    Jerry Seinfeld addresses this in one of his stand up routines regarding a Superman costume with a label warning people that it doesn’t give wearers the ability of flight:
    “I love the idea of a kid who’s dumb enough to think the suit will make him fly…but smart enough to check the label first…”