Billboards are nice, but …

Burma Shave

Consciousness: true selfishness

By Bob Martin


BILLBOARDS ARE NICE, BUT …

Ever drive past a billboard and get frustrated because you can’t figure out what it says? I do. Billboards can be an extremely effective method of advertising when done right. When not done right, they can be an enormous waste of time and money.

You have a very short amount of time to get your message across on a billboard. You have anywhere from 3-6 seconds, if you’re lucky and traffic is reasonably slow. That’s not a lot of time. I constantly see businesses trying to cram in all their information on billboards. Address, phone number, a picture of the owner with his dog, the product, a customer testimonial, the product logo … it goes on and on. The message gets lost and nothing is remembered as the driver tries to drive and read through the jumble.

MY RULE OF THUMB HAS ALWAYS BEEN …

My rule of thumb has always been one photo and two lines of text not more than 8 words per line. Unless your phone number is incredible easy to remember … 555-1000, don’t pt it on a billboard. The driver will never remember it and, obviously, they can’t drive and write it down at the same time. The best logos are short and sweet. (logo) Fisher Jewelers… Sooner or later your favorite jewelers. (second line) 1012 State Street. Short, sweet and to the point. If a driver can’t read your entire message in one pass, the whole message may be lost in the effort.

Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.

You should look at the size of the board your going to use. Small paper boards are harder to read then the large thru-way type. Along the same lines, the new electronic boards are treat for graphics, but their constant changing and the usual height can make complex images hard to read.

Billboards can be highly effective if you just follow a few common sense rules. And, happy motoring!

Bob Martin is principal of Martin Creative Consultants, providing advertising consulting and services to manufacturing and retail businesses. His MCC VoicePros division creates  audio voiceovers for radio, TV, internet ads and presentations.

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