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How the “fridge effect” can help your communication

This post was inspired by this political message image I saw on Facebook this morning.

This post is about pointing out “fridge effect” communication techniques you can use. It’s not about promoting Labor OR Liberal.

fridge message

I use the  image as an example to show  lessons you can learn from the “fridge effect”.

This example is a share-able political message to a target audience – in this case, families with kids.

I don’t know who prepared the image. I saw it courtesy of one of my Facebook friends and I think the message originally came from Wayne Swan’s office.

Whether you support Labor OR Liberal (or another party) Please look beyond the political message to the lessons you can learn from it

At this stage of the Australian election campaign, the public has been bombarded with so many messages – so much information, so much complexity. How do you remind your key audience of main messages that can influence how they vote in a few days time?

The image captures a few key points (most relevant to a target audience)  in a way that simplifies and stands out.

This message is written like a reminder note you put on your fridge.

It’s also written (literally) with an  everyday household view of the audience.

Also the fridge image is a clever choice – because in many families, the fridge is a focal point – a giant magnetic filing cabinet of what’s most important to people.

I understand Labor hired people who worked on Obama’s presidential campaigns.

When Obama was first running for politics (at State level) he used great advice from community organisers. In the early days, Obama would actually visit people’s homes.

The mantle piece mantra

I’m paraphrasing – but basically the organisers told him to simplify and relate his messages to what he saw on people’s mantle pieces.

The mantle piece was a place of pride and often people would place pictures of what was important to them – often family or pets – kids off at college or loved ones serving overseas.

The fridge is one of those “valuable clue” places too – although often more discreet and less tidy  than the mantle piece.


Back in my reporting days, when I’d interview people in their homes, I’d often (inconspicuously) check out what was on the fridge door for clues – kid’s drawings, tourist magnets from special places, a favourite quotation and other tell-tale signs.

I’d also get clues as to whether the fridge door was arranged neatly or randomly.

Take a look at the image below.

Do you think the owner of this fridge values structure and order?

Look how  the fridge placement maximises magnetic surface area!

fridge file command-center

Anyway, my point is: the fridge an important and revealing focal point. It can reveal important clues.

Also people are used to using “the fridge filing system” to remind themselves of what they have coming up.

In fact, my daughter’s school cleverly prepares  summary reminders with the heading:

“For your fridge”

My daughter’s school understands families and is probably used to busy parents (like me) forgetting important things!

I appreciate the school making things easier for me with their fridge-friendly messages!



Messages on A4 white paper are so common and do not stand out – so try to make your messages a standout size and a stand out colour.



It’s interesting in the political message to note the fridge magnet is un-smiley face.

unsmiley face


Even the usual political message details (usually in a fast voice at the end of a broadcast message) are contained in the fridge note.

So what can you take away from this?

 1.    In a subtle way, start to pay attention to what’s on people’s fridge doors. You can start off developing your awareness with your own fridge and the fridges of friends you visit.

Don’t look like a snoop – but just develop an awareness of the importance of the fridge as focal point. Maybe also be aware of the mantle piece – if the house has a mantle piece. People’s work desks are another valuable source of clues ( and I’ll cover that in a future post)

2.    If you want to send  messages reminders to people – make the reminders “fridge friendly” (as my daughter’s school does so well!) Make your reminder stand out by being a different colour and size.

3. If you send digital messages (like the share-able Facebook message that prompted this post) – you can make the messages look like they are real-world from the point of view of what your audience would see in real life.

And that reminds me – I better tidy up my fridge door.



If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.

I’ve disciplined my self to check ALL my different communication platforms twice a day – as part of my Check-in Ritual.


tony biancotti


Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

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One comment on “How the “fridge effect” can help your communication

  1. efangelist
    August 9, 2014

    Reblogged this on efangelist and commented:

    Lessons we can all learn from this earlier post inspired by fridge messages!

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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