Puppet Show in A Traffic Jam

This is one of those weird stories that often results from me spending more than about 2 minutes in Andrew Dubber’s company. I think we bring out the tangentialist in each other.

We were sat chatting by the canal in Birmingham, and a boat went past, with a couple of little kids on it, waving at everyone on the bank, and getting ever so delighted when anyone waved back.

It’s something I remember very clearly from my childhood, the glee when the driver of the car behind waved back at you. But I remember one such even more than any other, because we were stuck in a traffic jam, and the couple in the car behind us put on an impromptu puppet show with the contents of their glove box. Boxes of tissues, maps, pens, sweets and other weirdness were fished out and danced along the dashboard in some weird wordless tribute to Oliver Postgate’s more stoner-esque moments.
I told Mr Dubber this and we agreed that at its best, marketing on line is a lot like a puppet show in a traffic jam. It is

  • free,
  • fun,
  • personal,
  • often impromptu,
  • serendipitous
  • and makes life better for the people looking at you.

I remember that encounter all these years on. If it happened now, and at the end of it they held up a piece of paper with a  URL on it, I’d probably go and look them up.

If they tried the same stunt from the hard shoulder as we drove past, we wouldn’t have seen it.

To put it on on a bridge would’ve cost too much and required too much planning.

To do it in the street would mean that most of the people walking by would ignore it due to them being busy.

And if they’d tried to sell tickets…

A lot of people on the internet are looking at it while sat in a “traffic jam” – could be that they’re at work, or at home and bored, or in school/college, or even in a meeting where they really ought to be more focussed on something else. Whichever, they are there to be amazed, wowed, surprised, entertained and connected with, if you’re willing to be the puppet show. I don’t remember any other work of theatre from when I was under the age of 10, but I remember that one. (Actually, I remember 2, and bizarrely the other one was also a junk puppet show, put on by our mad neighbours in Wimbledon, as our kitchen window faced theirs! What are the chances of that?)