- Billboards reach into markets no other advertising medium like TV, radio or print can get to with pin point accuracy. It can also be strategically located in specific areas, cities, towns or provinces to target a certain audience, or market.
- Billboard advertising is free to the public and ‘on’ 24 hours a day, you cannot switch it off, change the channel or turn the Paige like other mediums. The message reaches the customer all the time every day of the week 24/7
6 basic rules
of Billboard advertising
- Repetition is recognition and re-assures the consumer or their brand, product or service choice.
- It maintains brand strength, loyalty and dominance in the market.
- It is no secret that billboard advertising is by far the most cost effective form of advertising compared to TV, radio and print.
- There is no doubt that more exposure in the community will translate to sales down the road.
- Research has shown that the public gets annoyed when TV or radio advertisements interrupt their leisure time, due to information overload.
- Print, TV and radio can be a costly means of getting your message out there and is also dependent on curtain factors like area, choice, and distribution.
SIX WORDS OR LESS IS IDEAL
Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard. So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across. You can push this to a few more words depending on their length and ease of reading, but as a rule of thumb, less is more here. Concision is tough, but headlines that are small paragraphs will not get read. And that means, if you have a complex brand, product or service, you should stay away from billboards completely.
DON’T BE A DISTRACTION
Most of the time, billboards are aimed at drivers, bikers, cyclists or pedestrians (which is why you have just a few seconds to get a message across). This causes an interesting dilemma for the advertiser; you want to get noticed, but you don’t want to be responsible for major, or even minor, accidents. The iconic “Hello Boys” Wonderbra ads were guilty of this. Drivers were so fascinated by Eva Herzigova’s cleavage that they were crashing into poles, medians and even each other. So, while being distracting is paramount in many mediums, it’s a fine balance with the billboard.
NOT THE TIME FOR DIRECT RESPONSE
I’ve seen billboards covered in phone numbers and website addresses, knowing without a doubt that 80% of the people who actually read the billboard would not have called or logged on. A billboard is a secondary advertising medium, which means that it’s for brand-building, growing product awareness and it’s a supporting campaign. It is the ideal medium for getting your business noticed, establishing your brand in the market place and reassuring the customer of their choice. There is no doubt that more exposure will translate to sales down the road.
DON’T BE TOO CLEVER
A boring billboard will be ignored. A smart billboard will grab the attention and leave a lasting impression. A billboard that’s trying to be too clever, well, it will get lost on the audience. As a rule, you don’t want billboards to make people scratch their heads and wonder what is going on. Complex visual metaphors are no good here. They say advertising should be like a puzzle to solve, it gives the audience a sense of fulfillment to know they figured it out. But billboards should be much simpler than that. Be smart, have fun, but don’t give people puzzles that Einstein would have trouble solving. You’re in the business of advertising, not showing off how clever you are.
THE MORE, THE BETTER
One billboard is not cheap. But it’s also not very effective either. Billboards are a mass market medium, but they need support. So, you want more than one, and you want as many eyes on them as possible. If you have only one board, your impact chances are obviously less than if you have four or five.
DON’T SAY IT, SHOW IT.
Get creative with your billboard ideas. A flat billboard is the standard, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. You can go 3D, have moving parts, have people interacting with it and even have your billboard animate. There is no reason that it just has to be a large, simple print ad. This is your opportunity to do something eye-catching and memorable, so go for it. The upside to this is it can create additional press, for free.
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