A San Francisco clothing store is drumming up foot traffic with an unusual approach—nine ominous billboards about a lost cobra.
“Our beloved Mr. Chips has gone missing,” reads the copy, next to a giant black and white picture of a snake. “Please help this sweet boy get back to the Betabrand store before before the mongooses find him.”
An online crowd-funding brand that focuses on clothing, Betabrand has a brick-and-mortar location on 780 Valencia Street. Sadly, Mr. Chips is not real. Happily, the company has not let an actual cobra loose on the city. But the billboards, scattered around the tech-saturated area, are producing predictably amused (and anxious) reactions on Twitter.
It’s a clever little stunt, playing on classic DIY posts about generally less reptilian pets. Plus, the campaign is clearly delivering results. In what is sure to be the best ROI metric of the year, SFGate cites a Betabrand spokesperson saying the billboard is driving “plenty” of people into the retail location, “including one individual purporting to be [Mr. Chips’] biological father.”
It’s not clear, though, whether the store’s new visitors ran in screaming at the top of their lungs, as if fleeing a venomous serpent.