Seth Godin has found an interesting example of a good billboard here. It’s great for entrepreneurs – cheap and effective. Doesn’t count on visuals, and counter-intuitively, depends on a few blocks of strategically arranged text. But it works – because of its location. On a long highway with little traffic on it, there’s ample time to read all of the text and make a decision.
Reminds me of what we studied under Jami Moiz in our Advertising class at the IBA last semester. Billboards are NOT meant to be read like novels – their information is supposed to be transmitted instantly – one glance should be enough. Most billboards in Pakistan, unfortunately, do not reflect that wisdom and you see so many billboards crammed with information that is impossible for a driver or even a passenger in a car to take in!
An example of this I can find right away is a recent McDonald’s billboard – sure, it’s simple and has a focused message, but it has too much fine print! Teeth Maestro at Karachi Metblogs put up this picture.
Another example is Warid’s GLOW™ campaign, launched just a few days ago – they’ve really launched this with a huge advertising push, with messages coming through on TV, radio, print media, SMS, the Internet, and, yes, billboards. But the outdoor media isn’t designed very well, because the contact information is too miniscule for reading on the road – unless you’re stuck on the road, like I was when I took this picture.
Now, perhaps this has been intentionally placed at a signal so that a captive audience like me can look at this – but the ‘Call 321…’ text is STILL too small. I zoomed in with my camera so that it could be readable in the picture – with the naked eye it’s not that easy to see. And what’s the point of spending millions on communications if the message isn’t being delivered?
Contrast it with an Apple billboard – and the sheer power of the visual stands out. Simple and beautiful.
Why is this important?
Well, because billboards are increasingly important as an advertising medium. As TIME notes, Twitter could have a huge impact on the use of outdoor media. TVCs are too expensive and the Internet hasn’t set the world alight yet. A good billboard can break the clutter.
Check out some examples on Bluebots. Some of them are actually examples of good guerrilla marketing as well (like the Oldtimer one). Enjoy!