Restaurant Billboard Ideas

Restaurant Billboard Ideas

The most effective and successful restaurant billboards contain striking images, plays on words and humor, or details that make onlookers do a double-take. With a clever and out-of-the-box billboard design, people are sure to take notice and flock to your restaurant. Here are some of our favorite designs to help generate some restaurant billboard ideas.

Compare and Contrast

As part of an intricate advertising campaign from Outfront Studios, Baskin Robbins structured billboards, posters and even web landing pages themed after “some things go better together.” The agency created a fictitious company called Bobo’s Fish Juice that featured some eyebrow-raising flavor combinations. These faux-healthy advertisements were then placed side by side with delicious images of Baskin Robbins shakes.

Though Baskin Robbins is in no way healthy, the advertising campaign managed to make healthy ingredients look less desirable using an artful compare and contrast. Color schemes, images and even tone are a subtle way to compare and contrast products to highlight your Restaurant.

Highlight a Product

McDonald’s created an ambitious campaign to promote the quality and freshness of its salads. The hamburger chain planted thousands of heads of lettuce on a billboard made of soil. Over three weeks, the bare billboard sprouted full blooms of fresh green lettuce spelling out “FRESH SALADS.” The innovative advertisement boosted sales by 30%, and 500,000 salads sold during the campaign period.

McDonalds also ran similar campaigns with a carrot bus stop advertisement, and a giant hatching egg outside another store location. This was a great example of creating hype around a specific dish or ingredient by highlighting it.

Play with Perspectives

This restaurant billboard idea for a seafood restaurant caught a lot of eyes. The actual advertisement is comprised of two parts: The billboard in the background, and the plastic fish emerging from the top of the actual restaurant building. From this angle, both elements of the advertisement look like they are all one piece. However, the billboard is a few yards away behind the building that the fish rests on.

This billboard uses perspective and optical illusion to make the fisherman on the billboard look like he’s reeling in an extremely large fish. This is an interesting way to capture and keep attention of viewers, as the fish and fisherman will appear to move depending on where the viewer approaches from.

Partner with Local Events

This upscale restaurant in downtown Toronto participated in the annual Winterlicious event by offering a special prix fixe meal. Though many restaurants in the area participate in the event, Far Niente took it one step further. The concept art is simple, depicting salt, flour and cheese being sprinkled against a black space. However, the simple images use restaurant ingredients to invoke the image of snow falling on a winters night. This ties directly into the event it is participating in.

This ad run shows us a creative way to incorporate local events in restaurant advertisements, and how seasonal advertisement can be impactful.

An Excellent Use of Cutouts

MidiCi pizza used a three-dimensional cutout to make the shape of an otherwise typical billboard irregular and eye catching. The plate seems to hang off of the billboard. Furthermore, the bold green and red tones of the pizza advertised pops against the otherwise pristine white plate and background.

The use of three-dimensional cutouts and color is an easy way to showcase specific products or dishes in your restaurant billboards.

Contrast Text From Chipotle

Chipotle ran this billboard advertisement that also invites another look. Onlookers immediately see the target message in bold black text : our ingredients are better. However, a second look reveals another message about locally sourced natural ingredients, and even includes a dose of humor.

This artful use of contrast text and a message-within-a-message is deceptively simple, but Chipotle has accomplished not one but two important marketing messages about its ingredients in just a few seconds. Consider playing with bold contrast to deliver two messages for the price of one in your own restaurant billboard.

 

 

 

Successful Billboards Around the World

Successful Billboards Around The World

Not all billboards are created equal.

The market and the audience of certain billboards must be taken into careful consideration in order to maximize their effectiveness. Because of this, billboards around the world are designed in different ways and seek to capture different audiences. We’ve compiled some examples of different successful billboards across the world and how they attempt to reach out to their respective audiences.

Asia

Successful Billboard Japan

Location: Japan

Billboard: Mt. Fuji’s Litter

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this billboard is that it technically isn’t a billboard. Sure, it has the frame and structure of a successful billboard- but it’s missing the actual content of a billboard. Of course, the position and intended viewing angle of the board attempts to turn Mt. Fuji- as in the actual Mt. Fuji itself, not a drawing or a recreation of it, into the content. Given the cultural significance and sheer recognition of Mt. Fuji to its target audience, the effect is substantial.

Qik Billboard

Location: Philippines

Billboard: Skype Qik Live

Mobile devices and social media are huge in Asia. Whether it be a mobile game, the hottest new trending app, or just chatting with friends- the smartphone is a gateway into a world of almost endless entertainment. This company created a billboard which allows mall goers to record themselves on a nearby mobile phone installation and have their clip appear on the ad. This manages to make physical advertising media relevant to the many enthusiastic smartphone users in Manila.


Europe

England Broken Billboard

Location: England

Billboard: Broken Screen

How many times have you interacted with a person, only to see that have them pull out their phone and noticed that it was broken or that the glass was “spidered”? Usually this is pretty noticeable and just as disconcerting. By replicating this effect on the billboard, it catches the viewer’s attention and reminds them of their broken phone screen if they have one.

Denmark Ocean Levels Billboard

Location: Denmark

Billboard: Rising Ocean Levels

This one is interesting as the viewer has to see this billboard multiple times at different points in the day to get the full effect. Basically the awning on top of this billboard is supposed to cast a shadow- the shadow that is cast will change depending on the sun’s relation to the billboard. As the sun moves throughout the day the shadow will change in accordance, making it seem as if the water line on the board is moving upwards. Given that Denmark exists next to the Atlantic, rising ocean levels actually do affect them as they change the shoreline of the country.


North America

Adam Ruins Everything Billboard

Location: USA

Billboard: Adam Ruins Everything

Anyone who has spent long enough time on Facebook has probably seen a video snippet of Adam Ruins Everything, a new series dedicated towards dispelling half-truths and common misconceptions. While one can imagine that such an “in your face” ad might not be incredibly popular with all Americans, there’s no doubt that it’s effective in attracting the attention of its home audience.

Silberman's Fitness Billboard

Location: USA

Billboards: Silberman’s Fitness Center

Obesity is currently an issue which many Americans are confronted with. The US has some of the highest obesity rates across all countries. This ad is very relevant for its home market and does its best to grab the attention of obese Americans who are looking to slim down.


South America

Clean Air Billboard

Location: Peru

Billboard: Clean Air

The city of Lima located in Peru was estimated to have the highest pollution levels in all of South America back in 2012. This billboard was created in response- a billboard which actually takes the surrounding polluted air and purifies it, spitting back out fresh air. Since this billboard has gone up, the city has experienced a 50% reduction in pollution. As one can imagine, it was incredibly well received by it’s target audience due to the fact that it actively improved their lives.

Amphibious Billboard

Location: Argentina

Billboard: Amphibious

Who said billboards needed to be roadside? These billboards can be found either on the beachside, or out in the water themselves. Given that South America is known for its fair share of beautiful beaches, it only makes sense to play up to the region’s natural strengths and advertise in popular beach spots.


Australia

Porsche Billboard Advertisement

Location: Melbourne

Billboard: Porsche Ads

If you have enough money and the inclination to buy a Porsche, you probably feel good about the purchase and enjoy it when other people notice your car. The Porsche company itself understands this and put up an ad in Melbourne that can tell when a Porsche is approaching. The ad calls out Porsche drivers and compliments them on their car, making them feel good and adding a little bit of additional value to their purchase.

Cannon Safety Inspector Billboard

Location: Perth

Billboard: Cannon Safety Inspector

Finding the right person for the job can be tough, especially when the person you need has to have an incredibly specific and obscure skillset. This billboard put up in Perth might not be the fanciest, but is still entertaining and effective. The imagery gives off sentiment that would feel at home in a “Monty Python” skit, appealing to the sensibilities and humor of Australians.

Grammar Mistakes in Advertising

Grammar Mistakes in Advertising

It’s true, grammar mistakes can happen anytime. Unfortunately, that includes when creating billboards and advertisements, too! Here are our favorite examples of marketing messages with mistakes that made it past the editors. Next time you’re thinking of skipping the proofreading process, remember these hilarious examples of grammar mistakes in advertising. It might pay to take a look at your work just one more time!

A Tasty What?

Oops. We love an ice-cold Miller as much as the next person, but we can’t get behind this confusing billboard. We’re just curious how this simple phrase made it through the editing process all the way to a billboard without anyone noticing the misspelling of contradiction.

Don’t Write Copy In a New York Minute

This Reebok ad on the subway is a great reminder of why it pays to take your time. The copywriter missed an E in “everything”. It certainly highlights everything that’s wrong with rushing! This isn’t the worst typo we’ve ever seen, but it’s embarrassing for the company. Not to mention the cost of replacing these ads when they catch wind of the mistake!

Servers Are Unsung Heroes

One of the biggest problems with roadside business billboards like this is the lack of space… and spacing. It’s clear that this Days Inn board meant to commemorate Veterans. However, without a space in between the two lines, it seems like they’re commemorating hot breakfast servers. Hey, hot breakfast is pretty important, so maybe they have a point.

Stay In School, Kids

Perhaps even more embarrassing than a big company letting a typo slip through in their signage is a college! Cincinnati State College put up this billboard not realizing that an extra N had snuck into “technician.” Being a place of higher education, we’re sure they didn’t hear the end of it for quite a while.

I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

While not a billboard, this car decal certainly gave us pause. We’re not sure who would print such an error-filled message or if the driver came up with it themselves. The incorrect form of but is in use here. Plus, the sentence should read “you’re abusing that privilege.” The irony speaks for itself.

No, This Is Not the Krusty Krab

Another case of no punctuation gave drivers a laugh on this roadside billboard. The signage of a popular food chain probably meant that Spongebob toys were finally at the location, and they were hiring managers. Unfortunately, these two different messages got combined. While amusing, this tends to look poorly on the business and would probably make quality manager candidates think twice. Plus, is Spongebob even qualified to hire managers?

Punctuation Saves Lives

This cautionary sign is designed to warn hunters that pedestrians use nearby trails. However, without the necessary grammar and punctuation, it seems to reference hunting the pedestrians themselves! While the sign may give you a good giggle, consider what a costly and dangerous mistake this could turn out to be. Please note that it is illegal to hunt pedestrians.

What’s In a Name?

This is a fairly harmless grammatical error compared to some of the others on this list. The problem with this sign is that we’re pretty sure this is a sports bar, not a bar belonging to Sport. There’s no need for the apostrophe. We wonder if anyone came in asking to talk to Sport recently?

I’m Suddenly Not Hungry…

This is the worst example of careless spelling and advertising mistakes we’ve seen. By leaving off the letter G, this hamburger special turned into a hamburger horror! This image from a popular American fast-food chain went viral, although we’re sure they fixed it pretty quickly. That’s just another reminder that proofreading your work is incredibly important. In the age of viral images and video, a mistake like this could bring you an awful lot of publicity you would rather avoid.

Worlds Largest Billboard

Worlds Largest Billboard

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.

World Largest Billboard

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 a billboard large 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 world record for at least a few years. Particularly in a time of reorganization for the company, the achievement is incredibly important.

Digital Billboards vs Traditional Billboards

Digital Billboards vs Traditional Billboards

With the changing technology behind billboard advertising options, potential advertisers have a tough choice ahead of them. Does it make more sense to invest in a prime spot on an LED digital billboard, or purchase a traditional static display? Are all the bells and whistles necessary to increase your customer base, or is the basic idea behind a billboard enough for a company to see a return on their investment?

The truth is, both types of billboards have great merits. It depends on the prospective clients of the company, the placement of the board and the budget for advertising. With these factors, a traditional static billboard may prove more effective, or vice versa.

Digital Billboard Advertising

Attracting Clientele With Digital Billboards vs. Traditional Billboards

Digital billboards open up a world of options for changing screens, special effects, stopwatches and other features. The options for these extra frills are pretty limited on a traditional billboard. Companies attempting to capture their target audience should definitely consider this. For example, a younger demographic will have a shorter attention span for advertising, as studies on commercials and ads have revealed.

The 8 second slots on a 64 second loop that digital billboards have may be the perfect way to keep the message short and sweet. It will catch the eye without giving the viewer the chance to be dismissed.

However, older travelers are used to looking at billboards as a way to break up the monotony of the road. You’re more likely to snag the attention of an older demographic, plus they will have a chance to see the billboard clearly as they approach it before the screen changes. Depending on the age of your prospective client, this may be an important factor in the decision process!

Digital Billboard Outdoor Media

Placement Decisions in Digital vs. Traditional Billboards

Just as prospective customers are important to consider when examining advertising options, placement is key. While it may seem like a great idea to invest in a fast- moving digital billboard with all the bells and whistles, take a moment to decide on whether the location will work best for this approach.

The prime spot for a billboard to be located in? Where there’s a captive audience.

High traffic areas, where bumper to bumper traffic or frequent stop lights creates captive audiences, as do long stretches of road through the country with little else to look at.

Consider both locations. A frustrated individual caught in bumper to bumper traffic might find irritation receding with visual interest and something else to focus on. An LED digital billboard can offer this. However, an advertisement that stays static as a driver approaches may be appropriate for a highway billboard. After all, a restaurant or retail location off a nondescript exit doesn’t want a driver to miss seeing their ad when the screen changes!

Using Digital Billboards

Budget Decisions for Digital vs. Traditional Billboards

For obvious reasons, LED and digital advertising with its various effects might cost more than a traditional billboard. Although placement and style will also affect the cost, it’s important for a company to ensure the addition of this expense makes sense for the company.

If the company draws in more clients through strategically placed advertisements, investing in the best of the best in this segment makes sense.

However, if word of mouth and repeat clientele brings in more income for your business, a traditional approach may make more sense!

Digital Billboards vs. Traditional Billboards

The truth is, both styles of advertisement have valuable merits for a company to consider. Slight nuances in company marketing goals reveal which style will make more sense on an individual basis. Bottom line, strategic advertisement will improve your bottom line no matter which style you wind up selecting!

Great Outdoor Advertising

Great Outdoor Advertising

Outdoor advertising offers a wealth of opportunity for innovation, inspiration and the use of nature itself to create an effective promotion. Billboards in particular offer lots of space and options to promote companies, products, and services in eye-catching ways. From using witticisms, environmental initiatives and actual products, there are tons of options to convey your advertising message.

Here are five examples of great outdoor advertising and the stories behind each.

Sioo:x Wood ProtectionBoring Billboard Great Advertising

The text reads, “This is the world’s most boring billboard. We’re going to leave it here for 12 years, just to show how long our products last.”

Sioo:x Wood Protection and advertising agency Stendahls created this disarmingly simple yet effective example of outdoor advertising. Sioo:x creates a 100% environmentally friendly product that protects outdoor wood surfaces and provides a natural silvery-grey finish. The major claim to fame? The product lasts for twelve years. This inspired the design of the billboard, which is made from real Sioo:x-treated wood. The triple-sided billboard is booked for a whopping twelve years to prove the ability of the product to withstand the elements in Sweden!

Engineering for LifeGreat Outdoor Media Advertising

Engineering and planning firm Ramboll is responsible for this clever outdoor billboard. At first glance, it looks like a fairly straightforward advertisement on the side of an office building, but is really an environmental feat! The cupped hands on the billboard from Garbergs advertising agency are cupped to hold birds, which frequently land here. In the winter, scarce resources for local birds in Sweden means the population dwindles — but not if Ramboll has something to say about it! The cupped hands conceal a clever birdseed dispenser, which means birds that land here are guaranteed a meal.

We can’t imagine a better way for Ramboll to demonstrate their commitment to the environment!

The DreamGreat Billboard Advertising Idea

This meaningful example of outdoor advertising in Atlanta is designed to pay homage to Martin Luther King, JR. Specifically, the messaging behind the simple but impactful billboard is a celebration of his life and the dream that inspired a nation.

The dream began with his birth in 1929, and lives on today, even past his death in 1968.

Handicap InternationalHandicapped Statue Great Advertising

Not all great outdoor advertising strategies need to be on a billboard, as Handicap International and the Herezie group in Paris, France realized. In order to bring awareness to the long waiting lists for prosthetics, Handicap International made the daring move of outfitting the broken statues in Paris’ parks with prosthetic parts, as well as small informational signs.

The clever advertising ploy encouraged a double look for the passerby and valuable education on the issue.

Summer With Ikea

Great IKEA Outdoor Media

IKEA made light of the brief summer months in Belgium with a series of outdoor advertisements encouraging viewers to enjoy the brief period of summer and sunshine! The majority of the billboards are dark, stormy skies with a sliver of sunny skies and summery furniture arrangements from the retailer.

IKEA uses a clever play on humor and making fun of Belgian weather to make an impact.

Postmates Outdoor AdvertisementsPostmates Billboard

This saucy advertisement created by 180LA agency in Los Angeles is a great example of using a stop-and-stare! the tactic in outdoor advertising. Postmates delivery service superimposes wry text over a faint picture of a Moscow Mule and ties it to having vodka delivered to you.

A nod to the political drama of Russian interference in the 2016 election may take a moment for readers to process, but the resulting giggle and shock value will make readers consider Postmates twice.

Interested in more creative outdoor media examples? Check out our other article on some of our favorite Outdoor Advertising Ideas.

Glad Advertisement Fresh Billboard

A Fresh & Creative Glad Advertisement Billboard

It can be difficult to come up with unique and creative ideas for outdoor media ads as over time many of the ideas have been used.  The key to setting yourself apart is to think out side of the box – literally!

You can see what I mean by taking a look at these 15 creative billboard ads. These savvy marketing professionals didn’t let the boxed-boundaries of a billboard canvas dictate their service or product’s message. However, just envisioning something different won’t always lead to success.  To create a truly successful and exceptional billboard you must first think of your product/service and what need it fills.

This understanding of the message will be the foundation  you need to build some very innovative ideas on. I have found no better example of a “fresh” take on billboard marketing that promotes the product’s message then in this Glad advertisement for their outdoor billboard campaign!

Glad Fresh Billboard Advertisement

Glad Oranges Billboard

In this Glad advertisement campaign, the company uses its own product to show how much fresher it can keep your fruit then it would be without using Glad. It quite literally spells it out for you! This merger of creativity aligning with the purpose of the product creates for a truly outstanding outdoor media campaign.

Actually showing the use of a product for all the public to see is a great way to demonstrate it’s value and this Glad advertisement does a great job of doing that. They also chose a product that’s common and can be used by almost anyone so their billboard appeals to a wide audience. The ad needs little or no explanation behind it which is another key to a successful billboard ad, simplicity. People who see a billboard only have a few seconds to take in the message you are trying to portray so it’s crucial to get he message across in a quick and memorable way.

While these types of ads are undoubtedly very successful, not all of us have the ingenuity, resources, space or  wherewithal to complete such a marketing feat as the ones mentioned above. However to be successful, you don’t always have to break the mold. Even some simple creative properties can get you started to move you down tracks to a very successful and engaging billboard campaign!

The Fresh vs Rotten Glad Billboard Ad

If you follow these “Rules of Engagement” based on the foundation of promoting your product/services core message and spice it with some outside of the box creative thinking you have yourself the perfect recipe for success!

If you’re interested in creative outdoor media check out our article on outside the box marketing ideas for more inspiration.

Billboard Advertising Effectiveness

Billboard Advertising Effectiveness

One of the key methods of advertising and a staple for companies of all industries is the billboard. Through ever-developing effects, such as digital screens, 3-D figures or different structures, the concept of the billboard and why it works is the same.

Anyway you look at it, billboard advertising effectiveness has proven itself for decades. Here are some of the top reasons why.

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 concerning 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.

Measuring Billboard Effectiveness

They 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 know display multiple ads throughout the day.

Billboards for Branding Effectiveness

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.

Billboard Effectiveness

Viewers Will be Pulled in By Your Creativity

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.

Billboard Design Inspiration

Billboard Design Inspiration

Inspiration for effective marketing often comes from the most unexpected places, or fresh ways of looking at something. Even symbols one has seen their entire lives can take on a new meaning, or new technology can create ways to interact with the marketing world. Here are 5 examples of billboard design inspiration that came from unusual sources or clever re-imaginings.

Play-Doh: Open a Jar of Imagination

Hasbro Billboard Design

Annually every April, parent company Hasbro comes up with a new marketing technique just in time for Children’s Day. In 2018, the company announced the launch of the “Open a Jar of Imagination” Play-Doh campaign. This year, the company is championing encouraging children’s imagination and play. With this unique billboard structure, commonly featured in bus stops and eye-level billboards, the viewer is invited to use their own creativity to see beyond a basic can of play-doh to imagine what it could become. The limited-edition cans are surrounded by a clear plastic mold of children’s motifs like robots, airplanes and frogs.

The billboard is designed superbly well, and offers multiple levels of connection to the viewer. The clear plastic molds surrounding the vibrant can of Play-Doh showcase the product extremely effectively, while the sight of the can inspires nostalgia for adults and excitement for children. Finally the idealism behind it, in imagining what the product could be rather than just what it is, speaks to the hearts of clientele.

#BetterOff Billboard for Earth Day

Earth Day Billboard

Sometimes the most effective design for a billboard is the simplest. This was demonstrated over Earth Day, when Energy Upgrade California put together a campaign called #BetterOff. The concept of the campaign was simple and revolved around cutting down energy expenditure in the state. Accordingly, EUC asked McDonalds to turn the lights off in their billboards, which the burger chain complied with. During the day, a normal billboard featuring McDonalds products including a signature sandwich. However, as the sun set over California the board went dark and a special message was revealed on its surface, using glow in the dark tape. The message read, “This was an ad for McDonalds. Thanks to their partnership, it’s now an ad that saves energy.”

With low cost and maximum impact, this is a fantastic example of an outdoor advertising campaign. This approach in particular would work for a company with a special campaign or message. The gradual change captures viewer interest, and the simplistic glowing letters on a dark background grabs the eye and leaves room for thought.

“Follow the Arches” McDonalds

McDonalds Wayfinding Billboard

Canadian creative agency Cosette noticed that road signs for McDonalds all over Canada had inconsistent branding. While every sign incorporated the signature golden arches, the similarities ended there. In an effort to make branding more uniform and directions to each location more streamlined, McDonalds embraced providing directions with the golden arches themselves.

Using segments of the arches, such as the left bottom portion of the arch to directionally “point” to a McDonalds on the right, or the center of the arch to directionally signal to get off on the next exit, McDonald’s is able to simplify within their established branding and provide directions to their customers in a truly genius way. All it took was looking at the signature golden arches in a new way for some solid billboard design inspiration.

“The Mind Reading Billboard” Quebec City Magic Festival

Magic Festival Billboard

Just in time for the Quebec City Magic Festival, agency Lg2 installed an interactive billboard in a popular bus stop to promote the event. Using recently developed technology that is being used in major retail and restaurant chains to glean marketing data, the agency is bringing smiles to Canadian citizens.

A person will move closer to the digital billboard and be prompted to pick a card and keep it in their mind’s eye. The billboard will then reveal the card you were thinking of, “reading your mind.” Of course, there is advanced eye tracking technology behind the screen that follows the users gaze in order to accomplish this, but it brings joy and entertainment nonetheless. This outdoor media is a perfect example of using cutting edge billboard technology as inspiration to capture and engage viewers.

“Fun Magnet” by Fallsview Casino

Fallsview Billboard Fun Magnet

This past winter, Fallsview Casino and Resort in Niagara Falls commissioned an enormous billboard in Dundas Square. The enormous blue billboard towered 40 x 73 feet above the square and was entitled “Fun Magnet.” Installations of mannequins on parachutes, mannequins barely hanging onto full motorcycles and even a hot dog car were bolted onto the installation as though they had just been stuck to the board with a magnet. Prominently in the center was the logo for the casino.

The design for the billboard was truly incredible, with a high attention to detail and no expense spared to bolt full vehicles and mannequin fixtures to it. The attention to detail and 360 degree marketing experience didn’t end there. A local agency proceeded to make a supporting documentary for the making of the billboard, following three mannequin “celebrities” sharing their thoughts and respective journeys to Dundas Square.

Why Use Billboards to Advertise

Why Use Billboards to Advertise?

The billboard is a tried and true marketing tool. Archaeologists have found evidence of “ancient billboards” that date back thousands of years. They’re such a common part of life that they are easy to take for granted. But if you’re planning an advertising strategy, you can’t look past this firmly established option.

Billboards aren’t still in use because of habit alone; they’re in use because they get results. The fundamental concepts behind the billboard are still sound, and innovations have opened up new ways to use billboards for advertising purposes. Let’s look at some of the unique advantages that billboards offer over other marketing tools.

Digital Billboards

Billboards allow geographically targeted marketing.

One of the most important things to consider when crafting a marketing strategy is your target audience. You want to make sure that you’re getting your message in front of the right people. If you have brick and mortar location or a relatively limited service area, then you don’t want to waste money on ads that target people outside your area. You also want to make sure that the people in your service area hear your message. Billboards allow you to succeed on both counts.

When you put your message on a billboard, you know where people will be when they see your message. You can look at the road the billboard is on and get a good idea of where people will be coming from and going to when they see your message.

Black and White Billboards

Repetition drills in certain messages.

Some messages are better for billboards than others. People drive by billboards regularly, but they tend to go by them quickly unless the area is known for especially heavy traffic. Messages that are easy to digest and actionable are especially effective. A study asked people to discuss their engagement with billboards. Let’s look at their answers.

On a roadside billboard, have you ever…

Billboard Advertising Stats
Notice that simple, clear, and actionable information had the biggest impact. Billboards work on an almost subconscious level, their message sinking in as people drive past them day after day. Messages that are witty, time-sensitive, or related to immediate needs all have an especially big impact on drivers.

Billboards capture one of the few captive audiences left.

Today people are inundated with advertising from the moment they wake up until their head hits the pillow at night. But people also have more ways to avoid engaging with ads, when ads come on TV they look at their phone, and they can use programs to block ads from their phone. In this sort of environment, how do you make sure that people actually pay attention to your ads?

There is one place where people have to keep their eyes on the world around them, and that’s when they’re in their car. If you really want people to pay attention to your ad you need to catch them when they’re stuck in traffic. Strategically placed billboards with the right outdoor advertising ideas allow you to do just this.

Drivers See Billboards

Time the average American spend driving:

  • 17,600 minutes per year
  • 48 minutes per day

That’s 48 minutes a day where people are staring out the front window of their vehicle. Beyond that, it’s time when they might be thinking about your message. After drivers see your message, they will have the rest of their drive to process it. And this can happen every time they drive past your billboard!

Digital billboards have opened new avenues.

Many people underestimate the power of billboards because their perception of the medium is stuck in the past. Digital billboards have brought this advertising tool into the 21st century, allowing billboards to take full advantage of the latest technology.

Instead of using one permanent image, digital billboards are essentially large computer screens that can be programmed to display messages in a range of innovative ways. Things can be as simple as switching between images periodically so that multiple advertisers can cut costs by sharing a single billboard, or they can get more complex by utilizing animation and real-time updates.

Billboard Effectiveness

People who can recall seeing a digital ad in the last month:

  • Place-based: 70%
  • Online: 43%

These figures were taken from a study based on self-reporting, but there is still a clear takeaway. When people see a message in person, they’re more likely to recall it then when they see it online.

Billboard advertising stands above the rest.

Billboards occupy a unique place in the advertising landscape because of their physical presence. They aren’t ephemeral like radio, TV, and internet advertising. They stand on the side of the road, their message emblazoned across a giant canvas. There is a power in the billboard that can’t be recreated using any other advertising tool.

Billboard advertising isn’t a magic solution to every marketing need, but when used correctly it can do things that no other method can. If you have a clear and actionable message that you want to convey to a captive audience, then a billboard might be just the thing you need.