Chiropractic marketing should be unique and dynamic. A giant spine parade and event costume creates excitement and attracts the attention of a chiropractor in your community.
Advertising is important to any business. The giant spine of the parade will attract great attention due to its size and uniqueness. When used correctly, the giant spine will be the hit of the show and result in invaluable advertising value. People will talk about it for a long time.
“If your business isn’t worth advertising, then list it for sale.” – BJ Palmer, developer of the chiropractic profession.
To make your own giant spine costume you will need special quality foam for each vertebra, extra wide Velcro for each vertebra and a specialized highly durable sprayable contact adhesive. The foam and velcro are petroleum products, so the price is high.
For the tools, you’ll need several razors, scissors, a pen, a yard stick, and a flat wooden cutting surface that’s at least 6 feet by 3 feet (an old wooden gate works best).
The vertebrae are best created in a well ventilated area due to the vapors from the adhesive. Don’t try it indoors. You will need a large open area to place the pieces to be cut and then dried after applying the glue.
It is better to make only one type of vertebrae to facilitate production. In addition, the public does not know or care about the details of the anatomy of the spine.
Set up a clear space in a well-ventilated area with approximately 10 feet by 10 feet of work space. I placed my wood cutting surface (an old door) on 2 construction sawhorses to eliminate the need to bend down while working.
Start by laying the foam sheet flat, then trace the templates (available below) of each piece as specified. Carefully cut through the foam with a razor blade knife. The knife will dull quite easily and start tearing into the foam instead of cutting it, so be careful and change blades/knives often. It is best to take your time and get a smooth, straight cut. But don’t worry about the imperfections because onlookers won’t notice, and no vertebrae are perfectly symmetrical or similar.
With the pieces cut out (4 cross pieces, 2 spiny pieces, 2 holding pieces, and the body), cut the Velcro with scissors for each appropriate piece and trace the outline of the Velcro onto the foam so you know where to apply the glue. . Even if the Velcro already has adhesive on it, you’ll still need to apply the glue to both pieces (the Velcro and the foam). You need to let the glue get tacky before attaching the Velcro to the foam and then let it dry for at least 48 hours. Apply the glue to the narrow ends of the cross and spiny pieces at the end (each cross and spiny piece is made of 2 pieces of foam glued together at the ends about 4 inches wide).
You will need 16 pieces of Velcro in total for each vertebra: 6 pieces on the outside of the vertebral body, 4 on the connecting tabs on the inside of the vertebra, 2 pieces on the inside of the spinous, 2 pieces on the inside of the transverse (4 in total) and 2 pieces on each holding tab. The Velcro is in two parts, one part has hooks (male), the other part has loops (female). Be sure to place the correct part on the pieces you want to join). Don’t try to save money by skimping on the velco. Using narrower pieces is tempting, but in the wind the pieces won’t hold together.
The giant spine can be used anywhere you want to draw attention to your office. Works great as a parade float, but can also be used (single vertebra) at a screening event, office promotion, or sporting event.
You will need one person for each vertebra, 2 people to carry the banner at the front of the giant column, 1 person to drive the vehicle at the back of the giant column, and at least 2 people on each side of the giant column to deliver Remove candy/promotional items (best if you have 4 on each side). This gives a total of 19-23 people assuming you have 12 vertebrae like I always had. Organizing so many people for a summer vacation can be quite exhausting. After my first year using the giant parade column, I called my local high school and spoke with an administrator who directed me to one of the sports team coordinators. The team (tennis team) was happy to help me, especially when I told them that I would like to donate to their team as a thank you for their help. The following year the soccer team helped me. Always arrange or ask for more help than you think you’ll need because some may not show up. If you use your staff or even some patients, reward them. When office staff and patients are used, the benefits of teamwork, camaraderie, and unity of purpose are added.
– Ignore some people’s initial comments of “Oh, look at the little planes or the little white sharks”; they’ll know it when they see the signage for your chiropractic.
-The landmark designation on signs is important because people will remember it more easily than an address (I used in front of the South Shore YMCA).
Consider adding music and having a “dancing backbone.”
-Give sweets to children and promotional items to adults. Give each person carrying a vertebra a small bottle of water to carry with them. Distributing coupons to the crowd for a free exam is a great idea.
-Most people don’t know how many vertebrae there are in the human spine, nor do they know that each one has a different shape, that’s why the number or imperfections don’t matter.
– Expect to have some overspray/glue application, and some scuff marks, and maybe even some errors in cutting the foam. These glitches won’t be noticed by the parade crowd, so don’t worry about it. For dirt spots like fingerprints, use a spray cleaner and a towel.
-Store the spine collapsed and stacked in a flat, dry space surrounded by plastic wrap.
-Palmer College rents out its giant spine for parades, but it’s hard to get on the holidays. Last time I checked the rent was $600 a day. Also, his vertebrae do not come apart and lie flat, so he must rent a large truck to transport Palmer’s spine, adding substantially to the cost.
-Vertebrae are fairly light (under ten pounds), but most parades are slow and 1-2 miles long, so make sure those you recruit/invite can walk that distance.
-Extra attention can be obtained by making a vertebra for a dog and passing it through the back of the giant spine – the tailbone!
Using the giant spine can be one of the best chiropractic marketing events for your practice if you use it correctly. The key is to let the crowds know who you are and where to find you. This is accomplished in two main ways: 1) have your name/address and a landmark near your office clearly visible on the front of the spine (using a 3 foot by 6 foot (minimum) sign parallel to the roadway) , and large banners (at least 6 feet by 6 feet) on both sides of the vehicle at the rear of the giant column. 2) hand out items with your office name/address/phone to passing crowds (handed out coupons, folded pens, and jar openers). The crowd loves to see the lead doctor at the front of the screen smiling and waving. This is your chance to do it, Doc!
There are also pre-made Giant Spine costumes available.