Years ago, I was driving along I-12 when I saw an outdoor billboard that caught my eye. Normally, it would have been because it was inspiring work. In this case, it was for the exact opposite reason. The board ignored all of the “best practices” for creating impactful outdoor. It was too wordy, the color contrast was low (especially between the headline and background, which made it tough to read), and it was not visually memorable.
Over the next week, I saw four additional boards from this same company. I did a little detective work and discovered that they handled the creation of the layouts themselves. I just shook my head, thinking “what a waste.”
Cutting corners can negatively impact advertising effectiveness.
You see, an outdoor board on the interstate reaches a lot of people and can get fairly expensive. Multiply that cost by five locations and you’re talking about a hefty investment. By not spending some of those dollars on having a professional develop the creative, they basically wasted all of their dollars. Not surprisingly, the company ultimately filed for bankruptcy and closed after just 14 years.
Outdoor delivers the frequency needed to cut through media clutter.
Outdoor billboards – when done well – remain one of the most powerful advertising weapons in your arsenal. I recall reading a great insight about outdoor — “while people may change what they watch or read on any given day, they still take the same way to work.” That truth allows outdoor messages to deliver a high frequency level that is invaluable for cutting through today’s media-cluttered world. Outdoor also forces copywriters such as myself to be merciless when it comes to editing. Short and sweet is essential. It’s one of the toughest challenges … and one of the most rewarding when you nail it.
An example of how outdoor advertising moved the needle.
We’ve seen the power of outdoor and its ability to boost sales for businesses, increase awareness for causes and, in the case of the Crawfish King Cook-off (CKC) event, do both. The link below will take you to the successful campaign we produced this year for CKC that increased awareness, drove ticket sales and ultimately helped raise needed funds for nonprofit beneficiaries Big Buddy and Junior Achievement.