Less is more.

It’s not a new saying, but it’s not outdated either. Some prefer the more blunt “KISS” (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. Either way, both expressions have an underlying truth, and with today’s seemingly decreased attention spans, that truth is more important than ever.

But occasionally we need to be reminded. In this case, take a bow @dudewithsign. In case you’ve missed it, the dude, in only 70 posts on Instagram, has managed to attract more than seven MILLION followers! I dips my lid – seriously impressive.

The dude, however, doesn’t fit the usual profile of an Insta “influencer”. He’s not a sports star or fashion model, a famous actor or reality TV “personality”. Rather, he’s a bloke with a Sharpie, some used cardboard, and something to say. And say it he does, capturing the thoughts of many in a moment, with a pithy ode to the zeitgeist. His first post, in October 2019, no doubt exceeded all expectations, attracting >182K likes. I suspect many of those were clicks after he gained some momentum. His most recent post – a lazy 1.5 MILLION likes, and counting.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Seth (@dudewithsign) on

And unwittingly, he has become an ideal example of how one of the oldest mediums can work with one of the newest. By holding his sign up on crowded street corners, he is harking back to the very earliest of out of home (OOH) examples – a sign on the street. In turn, he has crafted messages which have been amplified in the digital world. Cunningly, he has managed to speak not only “one to one”, but “one to many”. Handy for anyone trying to make a point, but especially advertisers.

What does this tell us? Media doesn’t work in isolation – we need to mix it up. We also need to get the messaging right. Whatever the age of the medium. And more often than not, that means less is more.