amazing billboard ads

Amazing Billboard Ads

We are constantly bombarded by messages enticing us to buy something. Look at a website and the next thing that pops up is an array of ads for that item from competing companies. Open your e-mail and there are full-color, animated sales flyers whether you asked for them or not. Ads come in many forms including posters, window displays, newspaper and magazine ads, t-shirts, web, and social media, but the most effective type is still in the form of amazing billboard ads

Advertising is big business. This year it topped $100 billion dollars in the USA alone. Outdoor or billboard advertising accounted for 7% of that. 

Some billboard ads appeal to certain potential clients. Others garner more attention from a different niche market. But what, exactly, makes an outdoor effective? The most amazing billboard ads follow certain designs and creative elements, and we’re giving you some intriguing information on them below. 

best types of billboards

Why are Outdoor Ads so Effective?

Billboard ads have been proven to be highly effective. Who can resist reading a big, bold billboard or a colorful ad the full length of a city bus? It’s difficult to miss an ad that covers an entire wall. 

Outdoor ads are limited only by the imagination of advertisers. Have you noticed ads in cab windows, on bus shelters, affixed to park benches?  You will find them on kiosks in shopping malls, plus trains, in airports, and even front lawns. Most commonly, however, outdoor ads occupy space nearest to roads in the form of billboards and with good reason. Every day, people commute t0 work, home, stores and more, and within that drive time, they either knowingly or unknowingly pass by a captivating billboard. 

We spend more time away from home than we do inside so it follows that outdoor signs catch our eye and lure us to buy. Still, what makes amazing billboard ads effective?

Outdoor Signs Have High Impact

Where magazine or newspaper ads have to capture a viewer to the medium, outdoor advertising requires no such invitation. It’s right there. It’s in your face. It’s part of your environment. You can’t close it like the newspaper, shut it off like the TV, or shut it down by clicking your mouse. 

You have no control over whether you view it. The longer and the more often you see it, the greater the impact.

types of outdoor ads

Outdoor Ads Grab Your Attention

Outdoor ads stand alone. They aren’t competing with other ads the way TV, internet, and newspaper ads do.

Outdoor ads are often visible from afar. They stay in your visual range for several minutes. Outdoor advertisers strive for color, movement, and creativity that make them attention-grabbing and memorable even long after you’ve seen them.

Outdoor Advertising is Surprisingly  Cost-Effective

Studies on return on investment (ROI) for outdoor billboard ads found that outdoor advertising is very cost-effective when compared with other types of advertising. The reason, again, is that they’re hard to ignore and they even subconsciously entice buying decisions. 

creative billboard ideas

Outdoor Advertising Reaches A Wide Audience

If you’re trying to reach a wide niche market, outdoor advertising is an excellent marketing platform for your brand, company, organization, or enterprise. Outdoor advertising has a broad audience. Being outdoors, businesses have the eyes of thousands of potential consumers. Many of them are hard to reach in other advertising media forms. 

Where Do People Shop? 

The short answer is: Not where they used to shop. Surveys discovered that over seventy percent of things purchased are not bought in retail centers and shopping malls. When it comes to advertising, location is crucial. Outdoor advertising is the most effective medium when it comes to making an impact on shoppers before they purchase.

Consumers Like Outdoor Ads

Ads on TV are hated! DVR companies make a  fortune on providing the viewing public with a means of ignoring ads. On the other hand, outdoor ads are actually popular with consumers. An Australian study proved that locals and tourists preferred buses with ads than those without them. Over a third of American drivers said they welcomed the distraction of billboard ads.

unique billboard ads

Outdoor Ads Combine with Other Advertising 

Outdoor advertising need not stand alone. It has been shown to combine well with other types of advertising. The result is a heightened impact on both types of ads.

Outdoor Ads Offer a Fresh Message

Thanks to modern technology, outdoor advertising gives brands and enterprises a novel, creative, attention-grabbing approach. It’s a way to reach potential consumers in an open, fresh appealing way.

Why are Billboards one of the Best Types of Outdoor Ads?

On average, people spend more than twenty hours a week in their cars. Here are some interesting statistics on commuters by state. For billboards, these drivers and their passengers are a captive audience.

Amazing billboard ads are big, bright, visually appealing, easy-to-read as you pass without undue driver distraction. Moreover, studies have shown that these messages leave a lasting visual impression.

billboard advertising effectiveness

Best Copy for Outdoor Ads

When it comes to compelling copy for an amazing billboard, you have to remember that you are competing with the driver’s smartphone, GPS, radio, and morning coffee. So, your message needs to be big, bold and easy to read in passing. It also needs to be clever but not cutesy.

A good rule of thumb in copy is six words or less. Six seconds is the usual time spent passing a billboard. Also, consider the words and their length. 

You want to get noticed but not be a distraction whether you are a traditional roadside billboard or a mobile billboard on a bus or truck side.

You’re not trying to get a response. You want to entice a potential consumer, provide information, and get your brand out there. Billboards promote products and support brand campaigns.

Best Visuals

Good visuals are big, bright, bold. They elicit a feeling from the viewer and provide a lasting memory of what they have seen for only a few seconds. Thanks to computer-aided design and vinyl sign software packages these visuals can be created effectively for both stationary and mobile billboards.

eye catching billboard ads

Outdoor Ads Faux-Pas

Not all billboards are effective. Here are some things to avoid when designing a billboard:

Ineffective Use of Color

Thanks to computer-aided design the sky’s the limit when it comes to color. Your ad must be attractive to grab the viewer’s attention and provide a lasting visual.

eye catching billboard ads

Hard-to-Read Fonts

Choose fonts carefully. Stylized fonts, curly print, thin letters are a bad choice on billboards. Aim for easy and fast reading format.

Too Much Text

As cosmetics maven, MaryKay, said of women’s makeup, “Less is more!” Avoid large chunks of text. Six words is a good rule of thumb.

Poor Placement

As with real estate, in the world of billboards placement is a major decision. Not selecting the right location can be the demise of your add no matter how effective the design. 

Amateur Design

Hire a professional. Many companies hoping to save a dollar try to use a software package to create their own billboards. The results are often poor if not disastrous. The money spent on professional billboards more than pays for itself in return on investment.

Let us help. bMedia billboards have proven customer satisfaction and results.

how billboard advertising started

History of Billboard Advertising

The first billboards were invented in the 1830s. They became a popular form of advertising in the 1860s. Then, as the 19th century came to a close, the proper format of a billboard was defined and their popularity skyrocketed.

history of billboard advertisements

In the 1830s, a man named Jared Bell created some of the very first billboards. These billboards advertised circus acts like Barnum And Bailey. The billboards were often large posters, displaying colorful pictures. They emphasized unique features and promotional elements for each of their upcoming shows. 

The 1860s saw a major shift in billboard advertising. Businesses were able to purchase outdoor space to utilize for billboard display. Soon enough, advertisers began taking advantage of the new laws and regulations, setting up different billboards and experimenting with their own forms and creatives. They were often hand-drawn or hand-painted and labor-intensive. 

Two things happened in the last four decades of the 19th century:

  1. Billboards became more popular, which led to the founding of various billboard associations. Some of the most famous from this period was The International Bill Posters Association and the Associated Bill Posters’ Association. They helped launch billboard advertising, as a concept, nationwide.
  2. As these associations became more prominent, standards for billboard advertising began to subtly change. In 1889, the Paris Expo revealed the first-ever twenty-four sheet billboard. That twenty-four sheet format became the standard format for billboards everywhere.  
  • Jared Bell created some of the first billboards for famous circus acts in the 1830s
  • Nw legislation allowed advertisers to purchase outdoor space for advertising purposes in the 1860s
  • The International Bill Posters Association and Associated Bill Posters’ Association  introduced billboards to other advertisers
  • The first twenty-four sheet billboard was shown at the Paris Expo, and then the World’s Columbian Exposition.
  • This twenty-four sheet format became the standard billboard

When Billboards Took Over Advertising

a history of billboards and signs

The Model T was one of the first affordable cars. It changed the United States, and ushered in an era of cheap, low-cost manufacturing. As more people became reliant on cars, roads and highways were soon built to support them. Soon enough, advertisers realized that setting up billboards on roads and highways was an excellent advertising strategy.

After the introduction of the Model T, cars quickly became the main form of transportation. Older methods of transportation railroads and horses, mainly became a secondary option. 

Due to this influx of cars, cities were forced to adapt their infrastructure to accommodate the growing automobile market. This lead to the creation of better roads and highways. Shortly after, advertisers realized that this would become prime advertising real estate.

While billboards were always a popular form of advertising throughout the 20th century, it wasn’t until the creation of the Interstate Highway System that billboards became extraordinarily successful. The Interstate Highway System — a system that connects the different states together through safe and efficient roads, spanning 49,000 miles — was a goldmine of display opportunities. 

history of billboard advertising

Hundreds of businesses used this method of advertising to their advantage. Most of these businesses set up conventional billboards. But, there were other businesses for example, Burma Shave, Coca-Cola, and Palmolive that realized that by designing humorous and captivating signs, you could entertain bored drivers.

  • The popularity of the first cars, Model T, lead to the development of better roads and highways
  • Advertisers realized that these roads and highways could be used to set up billboards
  • The Interstate Highway System lead to billboards becoming one of the most popular forms of advertising
  • Businesses started using billboards to create advertisements that entertained drivers

The Highway Beautification Act

history of billboard advertising

The placement of billboards on the Interstate Highway System was largely unregulated. There were very few restrictions regarding the size, spacing, placement, and design. This lack of regulation changed in 1965.

The Interstate Highway System brought a great deal of prosperity to the billboard industry. Billboards were extremely popular, and the businesses and products they were advertising even more.

In 1965, the Highway Beautification Act was passed. The Highway Beautification Act set limitations on the number of billboards that could be placed along highways, as well as regulations on factors such as size, spacing, and lighting.

While some in the industry thought that this would put an end to billboards, it didn’t. Instead, billboard designs complied with the newly formed regulations. 

  • The Interstate Highway System and the placement of billboards was largely unregulated
  • This changed in 1965 when the Highway Beautification Act was passed
  • Advertisers were forced to comply with various regulations regarding spacing, size, and lighting
  • Billboards remained popular, but they had to change and develop in order to comply with these new regulations

The Future of Billboard Advertising

Today, billboards still comprise a large percentage of the advertising market. Instead of going with traditional billboards, though, advertisers are using digital methods. Digital billboards bring less work and fewer overhead costs while delivering a more vivid and engaging form of advertising.

digital billboard advertising

To some, billboards are seen as a “relic of the past”. For advertisers, though, this is far from the truth. As of today, billboards comprise 66% of the “out of home” advertising market. Many of these billboards are digital.

Digital billboards require less work than traditional billboards. They also offer more possibilities for creativity and experimentation.

Instead of shipping an advertisement to a billboard company weeks in advance, all that’s needed is a file. If you want to experiment with different creatives and ideas including, colors, fonts, styles and sound effects for your advertisement, you can do so easily. If something doesn’t work out, simply press a few buttons to make desired changes.

Along with that, digital billboards and other outdoor media are starting to integrate sensors and cameras. These allow for more dynamic and engaging advertisements that directly interface with whoever is viewing the ad.

While the billboard advertising form will continue to shift and change, one thing is certain: billboards are here to stay. 

  • Billboards still comprise a significant portion of the advertising market
  • The traditional billboard was replaced with their digital counterparts
  • Digital billboards require less maintenance than traditional billboards
  • Sensors and cameras are being used to create interactive ads

Billboard Advertising in Puerto Rico

history of billboard advertising

bMedia is a Puerto Rico local outdoor media company specializing in billboard advertising. While we’ve come a long way since hand-painted signage and extremely labor-intensive displays, we are happy to continue servicing one of the oldest forms of advertising. This advertising strategy has been proven and methodically implemented for companies across the nation. We offer our support and creativity for businesses exclusive to Puerto Rico. Contact us for pricing and additional information.

DEC Traffic Calculator Featured

DEC Calculator

A DEC calculator can be used to calculate the daily effective circulation or potential billboard exposure for an outdoor media installation in a given location. Please use our DEC Calculator below.

Daily Effective Circulation Calculator

[CP_CALCULATED_FIELDS id=”1″]

Specifications

According to the OAAA the DEC is calculated by assuming that each vehicle contains 1.38 people (18 years and older). That variable is divided into two (to measure only one direction of the road). This data was provided from the Ministry of Transport and Public works of Puerto Rico which was published in January 2005 with data pertaining to 2003. These statistics assume outdoor media is featured with 24 hours of illumination.

DEC Traffic Calculator

Classic Retro Billboards

Vintage Billboards

Advertising has evolved much over the ages. Before the advent of cheap, high-quality photo printing, painted illustrations were required to cover the large area of billboards. This meant that vintage billboards were works of art in and of themselves. Due to the limitations imposed by the use of illustrations, even the design of such ads was different.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most effective, beautiful, and well-crafted vintage billboards to analyze and deconstruct.

Vintage Pepsi Billboard

Pepsi Vintage Billboard

For anyone who has seen the classic 1985 popcorn science fiction film, “Back to the Future”, this billboard might bring back a bit of nostalgia. There’s a scene in which the main character travels from an empty lot in 1955 to the same space in 1985, except the area is now occupied by a newly built suburban neighborhood. While this ad is clearly about Pepsi, it still manages to be highly representative of its era- a time when suburban development was on the rise as the American middle class prospered.

Perhaps the most interesting and striking aspect of this billboard is that it uses the scale in order to defy the expectations of the viewer and catch their attention.

Small objects such as the Pepsi bottle cap are drawn to dwarf traditionally larger objects such as the house being constructed. The technique is quite subtle, yet still manages to disarm and interest viewers.

Vintage Coca-Cola Billboard

Coca Cola Puerto Rico

Of course, if we are to look at old Pepsi ads, it is inevitable that vintage Coca-Cola ads be brought up as a contrasting point. The evolution of the marketing behind Coca-Cola is an always fascinating subject. Here is a rare snapshot of the brand’s humble beginnings. Simple, yet ever present, this ad was found in Puerto Rico and was among the first of the brand’s international marketing efforts.

Coca-Cola’s presence has been felt around the world for decades, this image highlights just how long Coca-Cola has been at the forefront of popular culture.

1920’s Spanish Tile Billboard

Vintage Spanish Tile Billboard

The ad pictured above is from a relatively recent photograph, meaning that this advertisement has remained intact for almost 100 years at this point, all thanks to the quality of craftsmanship and the materials used.

This billboard found in Sevilla, Spain dates back to the 1920s and is a beautiful and quite rare find. Comprised of painted tiles, it has more in common with traditional Spanish art than advertising materials. The amount of detail, care, and raw artistry that has gone into this piece come off as incredibly uncharacteristic with what audiences have come to expect out of ads. Thrilling and interesting they may be- modern ads are ultimately understood to be disposable and fleeting.

Motorcar Silhouettes Retro Billboard

Vintage Billboards

Flat design is highly distinguished by shape and color instead of perspective, lighting, and detail. These two elements are commonly found being manipulated in vintage ads. This ad is a prime example of how shape can be used and taken advantage of in an ad.

This ad for some motorcars is focusing specifically on the shapes of the front of each car, relying upon the highly distinctive and iconic silhouettes of the vehicles to add impact to the billboard’s message.

1967 Chevrolet Camaro Vintage Billboard

Camaro Vintage Billboard

This famous ad for the then brand-new Chevrolet Camaro is worth highlighting thanks to its striking use of bold colors.

As previously mentioned, color is the other side of the coin when it comes to flat design. While the last advertisement made great use of shapes and silhouettes, this Camaro ad chooses to shift the focus mainly to its usage of color, though the shape here is still very distinctive and clear.

The high contrast between the yellow, red, white, and black, makes it stand out and leaves an impression in the mind of the viewer. Such imagery has had a drastic impact on popular culture, inspiring visual effects in movies such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” and in video games such as “The House of the Dead”.

2.5D Oldsmobile Retro Billboard

Oldsmobile Vintage Billboard

In this example, the vintage billboard is comprised of multiple 2D elements layered in such a way to give the impression of depth, guiding the eye from the front left to the back right.

The beauty of billboards as an advertising medium comes from the fact that they exist within three dimensions. Many modern billboards take advantage of this by making use of models and other 3D constructs. As previously mentioned, however, many vintage billboards favored flat designs and thus approached the use of the Z-axis in a different way, utilizing a method

Interested in more creative outdoor media? Check out our article on funny signs and billboards.

Funny Advertising Fails

Funny Advertising Fails

Advertising is all about creating associations. People who see a clear message alongside your brand will connect the two in their mind even if they don’t consciously realize it. But this effect is a double-edged sword; if someone attaches their brand to a poorly made advertisement, it can really hurt their image. Of course, if an advertisement is so bad that it’s funny when people share it online. So these advertisements are either fails or successes depending on whether or not you believe that all publicity is good publicity.

Yahoo 404 Error?

For any website, serving a user up a 404 error is an embarrassment. For one of the world’s largest search engines, producing a 404 should probably never happen, so the unfortunate number placement in this baseball stadium next to the Yahoo banner makes for funny advertising fail. Location always matters!

Funny Advertising Fails

For any website, serving a user up a 404 error is an embarrassment. For one of the world’s largest search engines, producing a 404 should probably never happen, so the unfortunate number placement in this baseball stadium next to the Yahoo banner makes for funny advertising fail. Location always matters!

What Does That Say?

If you’re having trouble reading this on a screen that’s standing still imagine trying to read it while you drive past at more than sixty miles per hour. This sign seems like a real traffic hazard. Even if you can read it the slogan “see your teeth as we do” doesn’t feel worth the effort required.

Funny Advertising Fails

Hunters and Hygienists

So I’m confused, are they holding my dental hygienist hostage? Listen, it’s great if you have hobbies and sometimes you can even work your favorite pastime into your ad campaign. But your job and your hobby need to align in some way for it to work. All this sign makes me think of is my teeth mounted on the wall beside some antlers.

Hitchcock Dental Advertising Fail

Quality Control is Crucial

Even great designs can blow up in your face if the idea isn’t executed correctly. This ad must have looked great on the screen it was designed on but because the people putting the sign up didn’t put care into their work the whole impact was ruined. It just goes to show how important everyone, from the ad executive down to the person who actually has to physically put the ad up.

Coke Advertising Error

Diabetes, Straight Ahead

This sign placement is either incredibly unfortunate or ingenious. If the diabetes sign was there first, then McDonalds made a huge mistake. But if the McDonalds sign was the original sign then the people at the Ad Council found a great way to spread their message and make people question their unhealthy eating habits.

Diabetes Straight Ahead

Join the Fun!

Because of the way the picture was cropped we can’t tell what the full sign says. What we can say for sure is that this sign seems to be encouraging people to die, and that’s always going to be a bad advertising move.

Funny Advertising Error

Celebrating Remarkable Women

Mixing social issues and personal promotion always requires a tricky balancing act and the people behind this sign handled the challenge with the grace of a boozed-up bull in a china shop. Honoring women is a worthy goal, but when that’s your goal you probably don’t want to make it look like your company doesn’t have any female leadership.

Billboard Advertising Fails

Love Your Curves

On the topic of mixed messages, here we have another case of good intentions and poor execution. If you want to sell your product to women who identify as curvy, then you should probably hire some models who aren’t so skinny. This advertisement manages to feel pandering, tone deaf, and insulting all at once. In that way, it’s actually quite an accomplishment!

Love Your Curves Billboard Fail

This is Bland Flavor

Always triple check your font choice. Look at it yourself, show it to a friend, then show it to a stranger. If the designer behind this ad followed those steps, someone might have pointed out that the cursive I and S come together to look like a B, turning “island” into “bland.” It doesn’t help that the food in the picture ranges from black to brown to white. A little bit of garnish might wouldn’t have hurt.

Bland Flavor Advertising Fail

Technical Error

Just as technology has opened up new avenues for success, it has also created plenty of new chances for failure. In the old days, a billboard ad would never need to be rebooted. Then again, this might be a good advertisement if it was put up by one of Intel’s competitors as a way to paint their products as faulty.

Technical Error Billboard Advertising Fail

1-800-CALL

Last time I checked 1-800 numbers needs a few more numbers than this. What are the last three numbers? I know that CALL translates into 2255 but what three numbers do you get out of four generic looking lawyer types? Who thought this sign was complete? So many questions, so few answers.

Hilarious Billboard Fail

For more humorous advertisements check out our article on: Funny Signs and Billboards.

Facebook Billboard

How Does Facebook Spend its Advertising Budget? Billboards.

Have you ever seen a billboard ad for Facebook and stopped to wonder why one of the top online advertising powers in the world invests its marketing dollars into outdoor advertising?

Maybe not, but oh the irony. We personally think it’s pretty powerful that Facebook – an online marketing tool that stresses using its advertising tools to promote business  – spends it’s own marketing dollars on a traditional form of marketing in billboards. 

Facebook uses billboards for own ads

Live What You Love Campaign

One of the more noticeable Facebook billboard campaigns took place early last year across India. The campaign, entitled “Live What You Love” pushed groups, pages and events to Indian users in an effort to encourage them to join groups to find like-minded people.

The ads aired on prime time tv, and across prominent billboards in Mumbai, New Delhi, and several other cities.

Facebook Billboards

Spam Is Not Your Friends Campaign

Perhaps the better-known example of Facebook using TV, print ads and large billboards is the most recent campaign that began in March of last year around America. The sparse billboards and bus stop signs proclaimed “Spam is not your friends”, “false news is not your friends” and “clickbait is not your friends” along with a promise to change the way things appear in the newsfeed.

This campaign was in response to bombshell revelations about how Russian bots used Facebook to disseminate false information, spam, and clickbait to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Facebook then went on to launch a summer campaign in the European Union to advise users of their rights under the General Data Protection Regulation Act.

Why social media groups are buying billboards

Traditional Advertising is Still Key

Facebook’s efforts to reach its users not only on its own platform, but through traditional advertising methods like TV commercials, print ads and outdoor advertising on billboards, bus stops, subway signs and more underscore that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

In fact, outdoor advertising and billboards are the only advertising industry that is seeing more forecasted growth. In 2018, outdoor marketing was expected to grow 2% to account for an $8 billion market.

On the other hand, other traditional advertising saw a decline last year:

  • National TV Advertising: -1.5%
  • Local TV Advertising: -3.5%
  • Newspaper Advertising: -19%
  • Magazines -15%
  • Radio: -4%

The fact that outdoor advertising is the only section of the market seeing profitability amongst a mix of other traditional advertising methods shows us that outdoor media, billboards and signage are still one of the most effective ways to reach consumers when not on a digital platform.

Digital is the Difference

However, there is a marked difference between the success of traditional billboards and of digital billboards. Digital options are proven to be more cost-effective, and the bright, eye-catching effects that allow for multiple ads to appear on a single billboard makes the display more profitable for agencies and billboard owners.

Industries are taking notice of this, too.

Across a span of 10 years (2013 forecasted to 2023) spending on traditional billboards remains flat at $6 billion total. However, digital billboard advertising climbs year over year. From $646 million spend in 2013, the market is expected to hit $2 billion in 2023.

Facebook Billboard Use

Billboards of the Future

In the world of digital advertising and smartphones, some of the biggest streaming and service providers spend a huge amount of their marketing budget on strategic outdoor displays. In fact, even the iPhone has poured marketing funds and innovation into billboard strategy, with its iPhone X selfie campaign. Netflix also invests in billboards everywhere.

The Outdoor Advertising Association of America estimates that for every dollar spent on an outdoor advertising ad, it delivers $5.97 in return on investment. With new developments in location data and tracking, this is only forecasted to grow.

That’s because billboards are being fitted with tech and sensors to recognize when a person is nearby, or even analyze their smartphone data to specifically target passerby with curated content. Technology integration is revealing new advertising avenues every day, including computers analyzing data and statistics to decide when and where to place digital ads for the best impact.

In addition, new surfaces for advertising are being explored, including stationary car and taxi windows, as well as interactive and targeted directories, bus stop signs, retail windows and more. The outdoor advertising industry shows no signs of slowing, and the future of the digital billboard is bright!

Billboard Advertising Effectiveness

Why Billboard Marketing Works

With the emergence of social media advertising and other digital techniques, some may consider that outdoor advertising is past its hay-day. But that misconception is largely unfounded.

In fact, with the rise of the digital age, billboard marketing may even be more relevant and effective today.

With ever-developing effects, such as digital screens, 3-D figures or different structures, the concept of the billboard and why it works remains the same.  Companies should instead consider the billboard as a key method of advertising and a staple for across all industries.

Anyway you look at it, billboard advertising works, and its effectiveness has proven itself for decades. Here are some of the top reasons why billboards are an important marketing tool.

Advertising Effectiveness Billboards

The World is On the Move

Over time, countries all over the world have become more mobile. People spend less time at home. Whether enjoying a road trip or travel, commuting to work or simply seeking a new experience, the citizens of the globe are on the move.

All that time in cars ads up, and advertisements placed roadside where travelers and commuters can see them are sure to be noticed.

Drivers are a Captive Audience

Drivers eyes on the road, their eyes are also on the large, visually appealing billboards by the roadside.

It has always been true that drivers are a captive audience, and is becoming even more true with harsh legislation banning texting and driving and driving while distracted rolling out every year.

While drivers can turn down the radio or subscribe to a completely ad-free channel, they jeopardize their very safety by taking their eyes off the road. With little else to safely distract them, chances are they will spend a few moments peering at that billboard.

And, unlike other advertising mediums, outdoor ads cannot be turned off, hidden or thrown away.

Billboard Marketing Effectiveness

Billboards Inspire New Ideas

An effective billboard for a restaurant, attraction or even unique shop can generate instant sales for travelers who are looking to explore a new area.

With a growing culture of exploring off-the-beaten-path and seeking unique experiences, a well-placed billboard that provides directions to an unusual spot can generate instant sales.

This makes a billboard a surprisingly cost-effect method of advertising, as well. Although the original billboard itself can be pretty costly to design and erect, if placed effectively it will more than make back its’ cost in sales.

Advancements in billboard technology have also added a new dimension to billboard advertising effectiveness, with the ability to display multiple ads throughout the day.

Why Billboards are Effective | bMedia Group

Brand Repetition & Exposure

High brand awareness lies in repetition and exposure. While a tried-and-true marketing strategy, doing so is only expensive but also increasingly difficult to get noticed.

Billboard advertising is the only marketing media where the advertiser has full control of the ad space. The ad has constant exposure – no other media allows your message to be displayed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s is a powerful marketing tool.

If what audiences see in your billboard makes them laugh, inspires them, reminds them of a positive memory or any other avenue of emotional connection…you’ve probably secured a loyal customer.

Let’s face it, today’s consumers are constantly barraged with advertisements in print, online, over the radio, commercials on television and even on social media.

With a constant stream of sellers courting each consumer, a very particular method of selection based on emotional connection has emerged. Think about it: if an advertisement can charm you or make you laugh in the few seconds it takes to view it, don’t you think more positively about that company?

The same concept applies to billboards, and works here better than many other advertising avenues. You have a captive audience guaranteed to glance over your billboard for at least a few seconds.

Photo of effective billboard | Why billboards work

Impact & Creativity

Billboard marketing is big, bold, colorful and creative.

With all the technological advancements and swirls of advertisers globally, companies are encouraged to top one another in creativity and thinking outside the box. Consumers have come to expect this and celebrate it.

For example, Chick-Fil-A is just another fast-food sandwich stop, isn’t it? Wrong.

Chick-Fil-A is a globally recognized brand for a myriad of reasons, including their top-notch customer service, good works and their famous billboards.

The second you glimpse a familiar black and white billboard in the distance with hand-painted splashes of red, you know what you’re looking at. That’s even before you see the 3D cows posed in a variety of amusing positions, or the humble red Chick-Fil-A logo. The cows “vandalizing” the billboard have become an expected and creative part of their advertising strategy, and to look at their earnings, we think its’ working.

So if you are looking to stand out from the crowd, reach people faster and more effectively, consider billboard marketing in your arsenal.

Contact bMedia to learn more.

Evolution of Outdoor Advertising Industry

Evolution of Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor advertising isn’t a new marketing method. In fact, it’s been around since ancient times. The earliest outdoor advertising methods were chiseled on monuments in ancient cultures- including in Ancient Egypt! Hieroglyphics have been found describing laws of the country. Travelers were meant to stop and learn the rules of the civilization before entering. In this way, it can be described as an early form of outdoor advertising.

However, actual billboards as we know them didn’t evolve for many more centuries. Let’s take a look at a brief history of the evolution of outdoor advertising and where the industry is headed today.

Outdoor Ads Evolution

Early Forms of Advertising

Many people have heard of the famous Gutenberg press. Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable type printing in 1450. He was most likely influenced by primitive examples from China, Japan, and Korea. These traveled by traders along the Silk Road to Europe cultures. His inspired invention, the Gutenberg Press, rang in modern forms of advertising as we recognize them today!

In particular, handbills became very popular. Handbills, which were exactly what they sound like, were leaflets with advertising information handed out. They can be likened to early versions of newsletters!

In 1796, the first major form of outdoor advertising emerged- the illustrated poster. Using lithography, companies could create large numbers of posters for advertisement to be hung in storefronts, store windows, and even street corners.

Primitive Billboards

Primitive versions of billboards have been in use for centuries. The most common example would be posted by trails to notify travelers of an inn ahead. Travelers on foot, horseback or being pulled in a carriage would learn how far the inn was ahead, as well as what they had to offer in the way of amenities.

Posted signs along the roadside served the purpose to aid travelers to find food and shelter rather than advertising many types of goods that are found today. Widespread advertising using billboards didn’t become popular until the invention of the car.

Evolution of Outdoor Advertising

Automobiles & Outdoor Advertising

As automobiles were created and boomed, pioneering marketers realized that there was a prime opportunity to use long stretches of road to advertise products. After all, automobiles encouraged travel and mobility. This, in turn, created a need to inform travelers of what they could expect from landmarks, attractions, and hospitality on the road ahead.

Advertisements lauding local sights, national parks, and curiosities sprang up just before towns in an attempt to encourage travelers to stop and spend their money in town. Restaurants and hotels quickly followed suit, creating a real demand for enticing designs that drew travelers into a town.

Bigger Becomes Better

Billboards and outdoor advertisements had to grow larger and larger over the years for an interesting reason. As motor vehicles evolved and gained speed, advertisers needed to make their billboards bigger in order to be seen from further away! If advertisers didn’t make their billboards big enough, the motorist would zoom past their sign without being able to read it!

However, bigger didn’t mean better to everyone – in particular, the United States Government. In the 1960’s, President Lyndon B. Johnson introduced the Highway Beautification Act, which prevented billboards from overtaking America’s roadways. This legislation was passed in an effort to check outdoor advertising companies from blocking America’s scenic landscape with various advertising.

Digital Technology Changes the Game

Prior to digital technology, meticulously handpainted billboards were the norm. However, beginning in the 1990s, computer-painted and printed materials became standard. More recently in the first decade of the 2000s, LED lighted and completely digital billboards have become popular. Technology has allowed smart sensor billboards or even billboards that scroll through several images in a minute.

Outdoor Media Evolution

As the industry continues to evolve, more unique effects can be expected in outdoor advertising. 3D elements and visually engaging details have emerged. For example, the famous cows on the Chik-Fil-A signs that “graffiti” billboards to plead consumers to “eat more chikin.” The sides of buildings and skyscrapers are cleverly used for enormous posters and advertisements (such as the now iconic Times Square!) Full vehicle wraps have placed outdoor advertising on the sides of buses, cars, and even planes. 

Smart sensor technologies and facial recognition technologies have created bus stop advertisements that interact with viewers. From games to targeted advertisements with videos and audio, outdoor advertisements have evolved to capture consumer attention in a multitude of different types of digital billboards.

How Outdoor Advertising Has Evolved

Outdoor Advertisement is Still Evolving

It seems that every day, new innovations and methods for advertising outdoors occur. Driven on by market competition, development of new capabilities and polishing of existing processes makes the sky the limit with outdoor advertising.

Types of Digital Billboards

Digital Billboard Advertising

Digital billboards have revolutionized the billboard industry. Unlike the traditional billboards, digital billboards are able to display several ads in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, they create eye-catching visual effects that aren’t possible on traditional billboards.

The technology behind digital billboards wasn’t widespread until the turn of the 21st century. That’s because the expense of the electronics made it too expensive for most billboard advertisers to adopt. However, advancing technology and lower electricity costs eventually won the day.

Fun fact: Lamar Outdoor Advertising was the first to install a digital billboard in 2001. 

The entire billboard wasn’t entirely digital but was still groundbreaking for its time. Four years later, the market for digital billboards officially boomed.

Even though digital billboard technology is fairly new, the technology is relentlessly pushing on and even the first Lamar billboard looks archaic compared to today’s different types. Here are some of the different types of digital billboards that have evolved over the last decade.

Digital Signs

Digital Billboards

Digital signs are a good option for outdoor advertising for spaces that don’t require a standalone billboard. Digital signs can take the place of traditional store signs, mounted on the side of the building, at the entrance to a parking lot or underneath an existing sign.

Digital signs allow buildings to be seen from the roadway, increasing the flow of foot traffic. Digital signs are attractive for their versatility and relatively low cost. For shopping plazas and marketplaces, this makes economic sense as several digital signs can be mounted, each showing a different advertisement at regular intervals.

Mobile Trailers

Digital billboards mounted on mobile trailers are an excellent option for tailgates, conventions,  markets and more. This type of digital billboard is attractive because it can be moved to multiple locations with relative ease.

Current technologies allow these mobile options to be seen from 100 feet away, making a perfect eye-catcher for marketing at crowded outdoor locations. It’s important to note that these cannot be operated while in motion.

Digital Billboards

Digital billboards are a common sight along the freeways of the world. These brilliant displays can be seen for a mile away on lonely American roads at night, warning travelers of food, retail locations, and local sights along the way.  Furthermore, they are popular in metropolitan cities like Los Angeles and most famously, New York. Brightly colored digital billboards display posters, marquees, videos, and advertising campaigns over Times Square.

Digital billboards are a popular option for most businesses, with LED capabilities not only offering multiple vivid design options but also effects that are visually engaging. Digital capabilities also offer the opportunity for high-resolution images, video, and effects.

Smart Billboards

Smart billboards can be implemented anywhere, and are truly the future of digital advertising. From billboard advertisements that are activated when a car is a certain distance from the board via sensors, to a unique “coughing man” advertisement recently used in Sweden. Through the means of smoke detectors in the billboard, a man will appear and begin coughing as if from the secondhand smoke. Then an antismoking campaign begins to play, as well as ads for nicotine patches and other smoking cessation assistance.

Other examples include facial recognition technology and interactive features that enable games to be played. Smart Billboards are a dynamic form of digital billboards that allow passerby to interact both with an advertisement and its parent brand. In addition, smart billboards can be erected anywhere, from bus stops to shopping centers and anywhere in between.

Car Windows?

A company on Shark Tank is working on introducing technology to play digital advertisements on parked car windows. A passerby walking the streets will see targeted advertisements projected onto stationary car windows  Though this type of digital advertisement is not available yet, test market runs in several prominent American cities indicate this could be the latest wave of the future.

This is an example of utilizing passive platforms to create targeted messages. Furthermore, it is part of the ingenious wave of high-tech advertising that pushes the digital billboard industry forward at breakneck speed.

Worlds Largest Billboard

Largest Billboard in the World

It’s been a big year for Ford, in more ways than one! In February, the vehicle company unveiled a record-breaking billboard in Madrid, Spain. The installation featured an advertisement for the new Ford EcoSport SUV, but that wasn’t what made it such a huge deal.

The billboard measured approximately 56,672 square feet square feet, making it the worlds largest billboard.

For one month, the advertisement proudly inspired Madrid with the bold statement, “Life is out there. Are you?”

It was awarded the official Guinness World Record for Worlds Largest Billboard soon after installation. The previous record had been set four years prior, in 2014.

Largest Billboard in the World

Ford Sweeps Worlds Largest Billboard Record

An official Guinness Records judge confirmed the measurements in February and certified the EcoSport installation as the record-holder for worlds largest billboard.

Engineers mounted the billboard on the front of the magnificent Edificio España in Madrid. The building is the eighth tallest in all of Madrid. It accommodated the huge billboard — which was the size equivalent of 20 tennis courts– for most of February. Engineers removed the 4,409-pound billboard at the end of the month. However, all that effort wasn’t wasted. Ford then donated all materials used on the billboard to the Apascovi Foundation.  The foundation is renowned as an employment center for people with disabilities. The center will repurpose all donated materials used in the construction of the worlds largest billboard, giving the achievement a second life.

The decision to design the largest billboard in the world which was enough to sweep the Guinness World Record was inspired by Ford’s famous tagline, “Go Further.” In tandem with the unveiling of their new EcoSport SUV in the European market, Ford decided to take their famed motto literally. The company aimed to “go further” figuratively and literally. In fact, Ford went further than the previous record holder by over 2,000 feet.

Choosing the Building

The Edificio España is one of the most iconic buildings in Madrid. It was finished in 1953 and is a stunning neo-baroque building.

It also was a record-holder in its own right, reigning as Madrid’s tallest building until 1957 when it was overtaken by the Torre de Madrid.The Ford billboard wrapped around the impressive facade of the building.

It has stood empty for several years, with plans for the enormous structure to be refurbished into a luxury hotel with 650 rooms in 2019.

Breaking the Previous Record

Although Ford wanted to advertise its brand new EcoSport SUV, it also wanted to beat the previous record holder. Surprisingly, however, the record wasn’t held by an automotive competitor. Instead, Ford found itself competing against popular electronics maker LG.

The LG cell phone company partnered with King Khaled International Airport in Saudi Arabia to build the previous record-holding billboard.

It was unveiled at the airport in Dhahran in 2014. An official Guinness World Record judge then certified the amazing feat.

LG’s billboard took an incredibly long time to commission and build. Engineers constructed the previous worlds largest billboard over three months. Construction took nearly 12,000 labor hours. When the billboard was finally erected, its official measurement was 32,291 square feet. The Ford billboard towers over the Dhahran installation by over 2,604 square feet.

Who Will Be Next?

Competition in the auto industry is particularly fierce.

Advertising experts agree that the next record seeker looking for bragging rights on the worlds largest billboard will most likely come from one of Ford’s competitors.

Billboard wars in the auto industry are particularly fierce and common. Several have made headlines, such as the decade-long billboard war between automakers BMW and Audi. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if either of the two auto titans decided to try for the record next.

However, the American auto manufacturer can be proud to hold the largest billboard in the world record for at least a few years. Particularly in a time of reorganization for the company, the achievement is incredibly important.