The Temptation of a Big Red Button

There is something tempting about a big red button. Some innate desire need to push it. And if you can get your potential audience to need to engage with your advertising then you may well be onto a winning strategy!


I was walking through my local shopping centre this morning when I came across the above advertisement from Meat & Livestock Australia. Before I had even read the billboard or processed the advertiser’s message . . . I had pressed the button. Thank god it didn’t light up and play music. That would have been a bit embarrassing!

What it did do was print out a short recipe for ‘Italian beef rissoles with grilled eggplant, tomato and parmesan’ on a shopping docket.

Hold on, I forgot one crucial detail. It wasn’t located outside Target, David Jones or Myer. This advertising was right next to the entrance into Safeway. Which means that when people engage with this big red button they are probably on their way into Safeway to do their weekly shop – or at the very least purchase that night’s dinner.

You couldn’t ask for much better placement than that (except right next to the protein section, but I bet you would have to pay a whole lot more for that placement).

But while it is a clever and novel piece of advertising, the best thing about it is the Big Red Button. As much as many people would walk past the sign willing their curiosity to ignore the tempting button, most people would eventually give in. And once they have already begun to put in the effort by pressing the button, chances are they will be more responsive to the new recipe with which they are presented – especially if they are like me and looking for inspiration when it comes to cooking dinner!

Luckily the Big Red Button is not constrained to supermarket shopping. I can see it being used in shopping centre discounts, coupons and special offers. But why not throw it in the middle of a city (i.e. Federation Square for Melbourne, Circular Quay for Sydney, Times Square for New York) and get the button to spit out a random activity for tourists?

I’m sure that there are plenty of other options – and the need not even be a Big Red Button – just something that actually gets people to do a double-take and engage with the advertisement rather than reading it from the corner of their eye. Or even worse . . . ignoring it completely!

But if you are stuck for an idea, why not use the Big Red Button? I know that I certainly cannot resist pressing it!