Not all billboards are created equal.
My creative director, Christin, sent this funny video to me. It's a short clip from a comedy television series that shows, with some exaggeration, the level of influence and persuasion billboard ads can have. It's only 52 seconds long. Watch it.
So I figured I'd share my rules for billboard advertising.
Creating a billboard ad can seem simple but it cannot be treated like a magazine ad. It's a channel with its own set of rules. One bad decision can easily ruin your ad and be a waste of your money. Below are strategies to help you get the most from your billboard advertising.
Keep it concise and clean. Billboard ads are meant to be read while on the move, so it would make sense that they not contain a huge amount of text. Keep your message short: 8 words or less. Readers only have 5 to 10 seconds to read your message so it is important to stay on point. This is not the time to write a paragraph of creatively written text. If you can convey your message with a compelling image rather than words, now is the time to do it. Ditch the fancy fonts. Keep it clean, clutter-free and easy to read. Less is more.
Extend beyond the limits. Billboards can be boring but adding an extension can leave a lasting impression that regular billboards can't. When you realize that you can add elements that extend beyond the limits of the billboard itself, the creative possibilities become endless. Today, companies are adding extensions, 3D elements and animation to capture the audience's attention. Billboard ads may cost more but a clever, creative and well-crafted ad could create buzz and pay for itself in PR exposure alone.
Size and location. Beware of billboards that are too small, on the left side of the road or too far from the road. You'll end up "paying" for a drastic reduction of eyeballs. Your billboard should be decent in size (the standard is about 48 wide by 14 feet tall), facing oncoming traffic and located on the right side of the road. Otherwise, your brain won't have time to take it all in.
The final test. Still not sure if it will be readable once it's on the billboard? I suggest printing your ad in the size of a business card and hold it out at arm's length. Is it just as impactful? Can you still read it? If not, go back, make adjustments and repeat the test until you are happy with the results.
Morty Silber, CEO
Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner