Dude With Sign

Dude With Sign


Red Onions Are Clearly Purple

Take one dude, add some cardboard and a decent black marker pen, mix together with a simple idea and some observational writing, capture the image and share. Repeat often.

In October 2019, Seth Phillips (the aforementioned dude) and Elliot Tebele, the founder of Jerry Media, an Instagram content and advertising company, took to the streets of SoHo in New York City to hold up a cardboard sign adorned with a simple protest, “Stop replying-all to company-wide emails.”

The photo was originally intended just for Tebele’s Instagram account, but after sharing a second protest saying, “Seinfeld is way better than Friends” in front of a “Friends” billboard, an online following began to develop and Phillips and Tebele realised that they had struck a chord and “needed” to create an account specifically for these “protests".

The @dudewithsign Instagram account was created; and within a few months the account had grown to reach millions of followers. At the time of writing this number of followers exceeded eight million. Maybe you’re one of them.

As the follower count grew, so too did Seth's real-life profile and popularity. In a forbes.com interview from 28 January 2020 he is quoted as saying: “The corner usually fills up with people within minutes, and everyone has their phones out. When I'm finished, a lot of people will ask to take pictures with me or videos, which is still something to get used to. It's a very strange feeling, but it also kind of cracks me up that people are seeing me as a famous person for holding up cardboard signs.”

On 29 February 2020 he held signs with Jimmy Fallon from The Tonight Show … and then on 14 August 2021 he donned a suit jacket to appear at The White House alongside US President Joe Biden to promote COVID-19 vaccination. Dude: “Let’s Look Out For Each Other And Get Vaccinated” Joe: “This Dude Gets It, Folks”. Whatever it takes, right?

Finally, in this somewhat gushy video interview with actor Drew Barrymore Seth confesses, in reference to the execution of his ideas, he “likes to keep it very consistent”.

It’s always interesting to note the stuff that gets to cut through, and to try to figure out why that has happened. In this instance we reckon that the "system" was in fact the secret sauce. Sure, the copy writing is clever, but there’s plenty of that around. It’s the delivery of that content via this fresh and (literally) streetwise template that has tickled our collective fancies and made its contribution to the cultural zeitgeist.


Due With Sign exists in printed form as chapter 19 of RR#1 … available to order HERE


Under the Influencer with Drew | The Drew Barrymore Show


1. The very first sign, 3 October 2019
2 to 38. Dude With Sign
39 & 40. Drew Barrymore Video HERE

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