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Billboards Worth Your Bills

Billboards Worth Your Bills: Making the Most out of Billboard Space and Design

Billboards – they’re their own sort of sign language. They’re big, bold, in your face, and just about everywhere you look. From bulletins to vinyl, posters to painted, the variety and options seem limitless. So, how can advertisers make the most of their bills with the boards of their choosing? If you were to ask us, we’d point you to our handy-dandy 3-C Checklist for successful outdoor ads – Consistency, Cleanliness, and Creativity.

1. Consistency 

  • Is your messaging across your campaign consistent? Are you relaying the same message across all your billboards and online ads?
  • Is your brand being presented consistently? Do you have a guideline in place to follow for your brand colors, fonts, voice & tone, etc

2. Cleanliness

  • Does your design have enough white space / breathing room around elements so they can be taken in efficiently?
  • Are your fonts legible?
  • Is your messaging quick and concise?
  • Is your logo and/or call to action clear and obvious?

3. Creativity 

  • Is your billboard eye-catching?
  • Is your billboard “outside the box” and unexpected?
  • Is your campaign as creative as it could be?

To help find further guidance, we’ve interviewed Jason Wilson, Partner at Tri Outdoor and Director of Business Development for Admytv. Here’s what he had to say about the opportunities of outdoor advertising.

Q: What is the #1 design mistake you see companies make on their billboards? 

A: The number #1 mistake is too much information/copy in the design. Outdoor can be a very powerful vehicle for delivering one key thought, idea or emotion [but] creative simplicity is the best approach to any campaign. The design doesn't have to answer questions no one is asking.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a company creating their first billboard, what would it be? 

A: Ask yourself what you want people to know and/or remember about your board.

Q: How do you measure the success of the boards you run?

A: While measuring success or response is never a perfect science (especially with some traditional media), there are ways to gauge how a campaign is doing, depending on the message and what you're asking the audience to do (if anything specifically). 
A compelling message that solves a problem or offers a solution to a need should drive engagement through various channels, including a lift in search, web visits and social media to name a few. If it's a local company, many business owners will tell you that their billboards are often mentioned by customers, friends, family - creating a "buzz" with your outdoor is evidence that the awareness and engagement is happening. Every business is unique in their message and what they need to accomplish; so again, proper messaging and design are key to reaching your goals.

Q: How do you choose between advertising on digital boards vs printed? 

A: It depends on what the campaign needs and the goals you want to achieve. Static will always be the best choice for 100% of the views and strong core brand awareness. Digital offers the flexibility of unlimited message changing, multiple ads rotating, varied scheduling, etc. 

Q: Does size really matter? The bigger the board, the better, right? 

A: I suppose the standardized sized bulletin format of 14' x 48' gives you the best canvas to create an effective design. So, yes, size can matter...but there are also very effective, smaller boards on secondary roadways, closer to the road, in and among neighborhoods and local commuting routes. They can also be worthwhile if utilized correctly.

Q: Do you have a favorite local campaign that you've seen in the last year?  

A: In the last few years I'd have to say the Kevitch and Chung (LV plastic surgeons) campaign has done the best job of engaging the audience through witty, relevant and clean designs about the various types of plastic surgery one can have, without ever stating the obvious: that we're plastic surgeons (outside their name/logo). Their messaging captured the feelings about wanting their service or how you’d feel after it, plus how others might react to your "transformation.” It's brilliant.

Q: What’s your favorite outdoor campaign of all time?  

A: Of all time...hmmm, there's too many to choose from, but I'll say that Apple, McDonald’s, Coke, BMW, Corona - these companies look to raise the level of creativity with their OOH. Decades of great ad design and execution. 

Wrapping it up

With these tips in mind, you can create campaigns that are out-of-this-world creative AND captivating. At the very least, viewers should be able to quickly understand who you are and what you’re selling. Otherwise, you’re not making the most of your dollars or your bills. Bored by all the board talk? Let Citro make your outdoor campaign the next big thing.