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.

Outdoor Advertising Ideas

Outdoor Advertising Ideas

When done correctly outdoor advertising can be one of the most impactful forms of marketing there is. The right advertisement can act as a monument to your brand that exists in the physical space your clients live their lives in. Outdoor advertising is harder to ignore than many other forms of advertising, but to achieve the maximum impact, it should be creative. A basic billboard might get your message across, but if you really want people to stop and think about what you have to say, then you need to present you.

Donatos Pizza Billboard

Consider the power of cross-promotion.

Outdoor advertising really takes off when it plays with people’s expectations. We’ve all seen two advertisements placed side by side, but they never interact. This unique ad from pizza brand Donatos plays with expectations to create a hilarious and eye-catching ad. It’s also worth noting that this sort of idea opens up all sorts of opportunities for cross-promotion. Creative companies can team up to create a billboard that delivers twice the punch at half the cost. That’s thinking outside the box.

Mars Tongue Billboard

Turn two billboards into one ad.

Here we have another advertisement that is created by combining two separate images. It takes full advantage of three-dimensional space to create an image that is impossible to ignore. It also presents a unique and vivid take on the subject matter, one look at that stretched out tongue is enough to tell you that it’s licking one cold candy bar.

Fedex Creative Billboard

Convert a vehicle into a moving billboard.

Drawing comparisons between your business and your competitor is always tricky, but FedEx found a brilliant way to turn their delivery trucks into ads with a cheeky message. A simple decal turns an average truck into a humorous and attention-grabbing jab at the company’s competition. Just putting your company’s logo on your vehicles might be fine for some, but there’s power in going beyond what’s expected of you.

Tailgating Billboard

Go beyond the flat image.

Take full advantage of the fact that outdoor advertisements don’t need to be completely flat! It might cost extra to add depth to a billboard, but if you’ve got a great idea, then the return on investment can be tremendous. People see flat ads all day long, give them something that comes out at them, literally!

Electronic Billboard Ad

Use electronic ads to tell a story.

Any one of these images would make a fine advertisement on its own, but when you see all three images in sequence, you get a message that is more than the sum of its parts. All too often people are content to purchase just one of three slots on a board like this and hope that they’ll stand apart from their competition. This ad shows that this sort of technology can be used to convey simple but powerful messages using sequential storytelling.

Hotwheels Billboard

Build off of what’s already there.

When creating an outdoor advertisement, you don’t have to build everything from scratch! By working with whatever is already in place you can increase your impact without dramatically increasing your budget. Look at this ad and imagine how much more Hot Wheels would have had to pay if they wanted to put up an entire fake bridge. But instead, they used an existing structure and made a big point at a relatively low cost.

Mini Outdoor Advertising Idea

Put up ads that work with people around them.

This ad from Mini Cooper does a great idea of telling people that their vehicle is more spacious than it looks at first glance. It does this by taking advantage of the space it is in and the way people exist within that space. When planning your next outdoor ad, you need to think about how it will exist in the chosen space and how people will interact with it.

McDonalds Creative Billboard Idea

Use technology to remind people that it’s time for them to pay you a visit.

McDonald’s gets a lot of business by staying open around the clock, but not all of their locations is open around the clock. This is tricky to deal with, when people are up late at night they might be hungry but they don’t want to waste time visiting a restaurant that isn’t open. This sort of message encourages people to pay McDonalds a visit while assuring them that they’re open and ready for business.

For more outdoor advertising ideas check out our other article on the best outdoor advertising campaigns.

Spotify 2018 Funny Ads

Spotify Funny Billboard Ads

Billboards are a popular advertising medium because they’re a great way to get a simple message to a lot of people quickly and affordably. They can target people based on the location where they will be viewed, and they often have a captive audience who has no choice but to notice the sign.

But, in the internet age, are they becoming less useful? Do we depend on electronic targeting and digital technology to get our point across?

No, not with a little creativity. In fact, one recent campaign of Spotify funny ads is a perfect example of how outdoor advertising can be even more successful than something posted online.
Spotify Funny Ads

Thanks 2016, it’s been weird

In November of 2016, the online music streaming service Spotify launched a global campaign of funny ads using billboards. Each sign contained messages that were localized for the markets where they appeared. The messages were crafted using Spotify data to find what people were listening to, and they often matched with specific and memorable events that occurred that year. Then they added in a strong mix of humor to make sure they were entertaining, and splashed them proudly on billboards.

Some messages were specifically for the local audience, such as this one in the UK:

“Dear 3,749 people who streamed “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” the day of the Brexit vote, Hang in there.”

Others showed where the data came from, but still could work anywhere in the world, like:

“Dear person in L.A. who listened to the “Forever Alone” playlist for 4 hours on Valentine’s Day, you ok?”

Spotify 2018 Funny Ads

Indirect Brand Advertising

One thing you’ll notice about these Spotify funny ads are that they don’t say anything specific about what Spotify does. They all refer to people listening to songs, so they imply that the company has something to do with playing music, but it doesn’t have any other information about why you would want to use the service. They assume that everyone who would use them to stream music already knows about their offering and how it works, or is smart enough to pop the name into a search engine.

This saves valuable real estate on the sign to show the new look of their brand, and it doesn’t distract from the humor.

Funny Music Ads Spotify

Showing Their Fun Side

One of the biggest reasons that companies go with ads that deliver some sort of emotion is because they give personality to a brand. This works in the case of Spotify, because one of their main purposes is to offer entertainment. These signs weren’t music to your ears, but they probably caused you to laugh a little bit. This adds to an overall image of a company that will make you happy, and you’ll subconsciously remember that when choosing which website to get your music from.

Funny Spotify Billboard Advertisement

Relevant to the Time

Another brilliant aspect of this campaign was how it was relevant to the time. 2016 was a busy year in the world, and there were many celebrity deaths, unexpected political situations, multiple international crises, and a lot of other difficult or surprising events. Social media users had become used to blaming everything on 2016, and this campaign played right into that – in a non-depressing way. It even managed to take all that distress and turn it into something funny.

Billboards Going Viral

One of the common concerns about billboards is that they’re not as likely to go viral as something that’s easy to share online. This campaign helped prove that not only are billboards not outdated, but the number of digital cameras out there may make them more likely to go viral than an image saved on a website. A campaign has to be made correctly, but physical objects can be less likely to get lost in the noise.

Spotify Hilarious Billboard

Big Data in a New Way

Speaking of going viral, this Spotify funny ads campaign used another buzzword that’s popular in the internet era: big data. Many companies are gathering and cataloging massive amounts of data from their customers, and most are still trying to figure out what to do with it. This information is a dream for marketers and advertisers (especially in the online space), but this is a creative use of it that many hadn’t thought of. Big data in an ironic way really stood out.

Brexit Spotify Billboard

Grab Attention with Your Billboards!

This example with Spotify is just one of many recent campaigns where outdoor advertising was still going strong in the 21st century. It’s often a good idea to balance it out with the other advertising media you use, but it can be a strong way to boost sales and build brands in many different industries.

Reach out to us if you have any ideas you’d like to discuss seeing on a sign, and we’ll be overjoyed if it’s a funny campaign like this that will spread the laughs around!

Best Outdoor Advertising Campaigns

The Best Outdoor Advertising Campaigns

Creativity is a crucial part of any successful outdoor media campaign. With billboards being a very popular form of marketing all over the world, there’s no shortage of great examples to choose from. We’ve analyzed a variety of outdoor media from all over the world and put together our list of the best outdoor advertising campaigns out there!

McDonalds: What Time Is It Billboard

McDonalds What Time is It Billboard

Sundials have been a method of telling the time since some of the earliest parts of human history. This creative outdoor advertising campaign uses this method of time tracking in order to bind together the “time aspect” of its message, by linking the actual Earth time dynamically with the ad.

Tylenol: Wrecking Ball Billboard

Tylenol Wrecking Ball Outdoor Media

For whatever reason, painkiller commercials and billboards seem to be in love with visual metaphors. Most of the time, this is in an attempt to show empathy for those that struggle with frequent headaches and migraines. It’s as if they are saying, “We get your pain- we have a solution.”

Pond’s:  Little Pore Cleaning Guys Billboard

Ponds Pores Creative Billboard

Speaking of visual metaphors, here’s another good outdoor advertising campaign. The concept of “little men” doing tasks beyond the range of the visible eye is a very common one which helps allow people to have trust and understanding in the process that takes place.

McDonalds: BIG Mac Billboard

Big MAC Creative Billboard

This ad doesn’t even need to use words to get its message across. “This burger is so big, it can’t even fit on two billboards.” While of course, the burger’s depiction on an ad isn’t representative of its actual size, it serves as an easy visual shorthand which clicks with the brain naturally.

YMCA: Basketball Billboard

Creative Basketball Billboard

It’s fun to stay at the YMCA~ Nostalgic 1970’s throwbacks aside, this outdoor advertising ad campaign is an effective combination of form and function. Instead of simply showing an image of the inside of one of the YMCA facilities, this ad instead deigns to bring a piece of the facility to the viewer themselves.

LEGO: Constructing With Bricks Billboard

Lego Construction Billboard

This creative outdoor media is less of a billboard and more of a dynamic outdoor art piece. This ad uses the contrast between the concept of LEGO as a child’s construction toy and the serious nature of real-world construction in order to grab the attention of its audience.

Nestle: This Candy’s For The Birds Billboard

Nestle Bars Billboard

Anyone who lives in a major metropolitan area will no doubt be familiar with wild flocks of birds terrorizing parks and restaurants in the attempt to scrounge up food. This ad uses this familiar visual in an attempt to demonstrate how desirable and delicious these Nestle candy bars are.

 DHL: Unpacking The Ad Billboard

DHL Creative Billboard

Hello, your billboard has arrived! Given how iconic DHL’s packaging and branding is, this creative billboard ad doesn’t really need to do much other than remind people that the brand exists. People like to receive packages, so seeing a giant package unboxed with an express label on it triggers a specific subset of endorphins within the brain that the audience will then associate with the brand.

Science World: Diamonds Aren’t Rare Billboard

Science World Diamonds Billboard

In the world of writing, there’s an age-old adage which is show don’t tell. This concept can be held up to many other mediums and industries, even advertising! In this case, this outdoor advertising campaign comprised of diamonds makes for a quite effective means of getting their point across. It’s one thing for someone to say a fact and another for them to prove it.

Denver Water: Maximum Efficiency Billboard

Denver Water Billboard

Usually the flashier the billboard, the better. In this case, the exact opposite is true. While this creative outdoor media ad still defies audience expectations and grabs your attention, there’s no denying it’s simplicity. Given that this ad is to spread awareness about a serious issue and not to sell a product, there is also a level of gravity and somberness imparted by its stark nature.

Funny Signs and Billboards Featured

Funny Signs and Billboards

Who says there isn’t humor to be found in advertising? Truly great ads are capable of evoking strong emotions within their audience, something which can also be achieved through comedy. We’ve compiled some of the funniest signs and billboards we could find which show just how effective humor can be at grabbing someone’s attention.

The Stuff Of Nightmares

Funny Sings and Billboards

If one hasn’t experienced this situation at least once in their lives, then it is for the best that they never do. No words are even needed for the message in this billboard. It presents a problem and a solution side by side, relying on the imagery of the problem to be strong enough to make the solution look attractive.

What Did You Just Say?

Hot Wife Funny Billboard

The classic bait and switch. Catch someone’s attention with an alarming out of context statement, then clarify the usage. The result is most likely a hearty chuckle and some more eyes on your billboard. While it might seem that this billboard would lose its effectiveness if the viewer isn’t married, the resulting confusion would only make the statement more perplexing.

Puns Are Hanoi-ing

Phuket Funny Sign

For those not in the know, Phuket is a popular beach resort destination found in Thailand. As far as location themed puns go, the jokes write themselves. Still, it’s refreshing to see an airline company have a sense of humor. There’s some tact to the implementation of the pun as it doesn’t come off too tasteless or brash.

Camera Shy

Pimples Outdoor Media

Beautifully elegant and creative- this is simply a non-rectangular billboard with a tarp covered over part of it. However, the message and visual effect is clear and effectively gets its point across. Most everyone can relate to being embarrassed by pimples so the humor in this billboard comes from the how relatable and human the message is.

Personal Hygiene

Nose Hair Trimmer Billboard

When advertisements interact with the surrounding world in a creative and unique way, it can catch oneself off guard. While this ad seems like a potential safety and fire hazard in the making, it catches the eye and makes creative use of something we usually ignore. It’s gross enough to create a sense of discomfort in the viewer which it then offers a solution to.

Your Dog Has A Case Of Humans

Frontline Fleas Outdoor Media

Ever heard someone say something along the likes of, “those people look like ants from up here?” Someone at Frontline ran with the concept, except with fleas instead of ants. The imagery of the obviously uncomfortable and itchy dog goes a long ways towards providing the framing required to interpret the people as fleas.

Happy Little Trees

Bob Ross Billboard

No matter what’s troubling you, hearing Bob Ross say his signature line, “let’s paint some happy little trees” has a mysterious soothing effect. The tribute offered by this sign is sure to bring a warm smile to the face of just about anyone. Sure, there’s no joke per se, but it’s cute and playful- traits not normally found in road signs.

Calling You Out

Funny Parking Billboard

Despite being placed in public spaces, the communication that happens between a billboard and the viewer is actually quite a personal and private one. The one-way direction of the message allows this billboard to call out passing drivers and personalize its message without actually adapting to each individual. Sure, it won’t hold true for everyone passing by, but it will be more effective for those that fit the message.

Worst Possible Spokesperson

Flu Shots Billboard

Context is key when it comes to delivering a joke. In this case, the signs themselves are what you would expect. Instead it is their creative placement by employees that brings forth humor from the created implication.

Most Expensive Billboard

The Most Expensive Billboard In The World

Advertising is much more than just the act of getting your product out in front of your customers’ eyes – it’s an art that balances sociology and style. Endless attempts have been made to create outdoor media which is profound to the place and time they are produced in, and many have succeeded. But what about those advertisements that simply wow with size and spectacle? That’s right, we’re talking about the biggest and most expensive billboard ever– but which billboard, exactly, is the ‘most expensive?’ Read on to find out!

The Most Expensive Billboard

When we talk about the most expensive billboard in the world, there is a little bit of confusion about whether or not the prize will be taken by North America, or by the increasingly eminent Dubai, long considered a bastion of wealth and opulence in the Middle East. For as far as the plain facts are considered, though, the most expensive billboard is one that went up in Times Square in the late part of 2014.

A picture of the billboard, with a crowd for scale

Most Expensive Billboard

This billboard, recently unveiled in the heart of Times Square, is longer than a football field and boasts an unreal 24 million pixel display to embolden the next generation of high-definition advertising. You can see the display dwarfing the crowds below.

So, what does this expensive billboard cost the advertisers of the world to use? A whopping 625k/week. Or, in other words, roughly ~$100,000 a day. The billboard is rented in 4-week periods, meaning that companies will be dropping about $2.5 million for a 4-week advertisement. While this price is pretty much unprecedented, the area sees hundreds of thousands of people a day – people who are likely to notice the gargantuan display that illuminates the marquee above them. For many advertisers, this is a worthwhile investment to make.

While this billboard is one of the largest and definitely the most expensive, it is not the largest in the world. It’s not even the tallest! The distinction of tallest belongs to another Times Square billboard, the uber-iconic vertical one at One Times Square. Meanwhile, the largest billboard in the world is in Saudi Arabia which is the length of almost three football fields!

A Possible Competitor

Most Expensive Billboard Dubai

The massive new Times Square billboard may be the most consistently expensive billboard in the world with its weekly rate of $625,000, but there is one billboard that has a higher cost in terms of potential. This billboard is none other than the Skydive Dubai billboard that debuted in front of the Burj Khalifa back in 2012, in conjunction with Denver-based Go Fast Sports. Sure, it’s in a prime location… But how does it manage to risk a cost higher than $625k?

The answer lies in the peculiar nature of its presentation. While the billboard is relatively standard, it debuted with a display from a Go Fast jetpack rider – no doubt due to the ties that Go Fast Sports has to the Jetpack International. Since the advertisement debuted with the jetpack rider as a key part of its presentation, it can be considered to be something of a part of the ad itself. See a demonstration in the video here.

It is estimated that for this billboard to operate at full capacity (that is to say, with a jetpack rider circling it) it would cost a completely unreal $1.3 billion a month to operate. For clarity, that’s operating 24/7, for a whole month. Even still, you might be wondering, how is it so expensive? The answer is that jet-packing is still an incredibly expensive hobby, taking an estimated $500 a second. Until we see those costs drop, this will be without a doubt the most (potentially) expensive billboard in the world.

Expensive Billboard

Reflections On the Two

So here we’ve looked at the two most expensive billboards in the world – one is a massive screen in a key center of the city, and one is in an even more opulent location but requiring an unsustainable display to make the most of itself. They are certainly two different ways to spend, so which one is ‘better’?

Without a doubt, the Times Square billboard is the safer investment. It has a hefty cost, but a great location with a fantastic display. The things that make the Dubai billboard so expensive mostly come down to novelty, which while worthy of conversation, are no way to sustainably invest in your business. So if you see billboards out in the wild that echo these two, take the option that is the most stable! After all, there is a reason that brands like Google are already seeking to place multi-month displays on a display like the one in Times Square.

Use Only What you Need

Using Outdoor Media to Save the Planet

If you’ve ever visited the state of Colorado, you’ll know that it’s an extremely beautiful place. Unfortunately, if you were there in the summer, there’s a good chance that you encountered how dry it is. It may seem like lack of water is something that couldn’t be helped with billboards, but Denver Water has gone above and beyond to prove that wrong. They’ve been so successful that they’ve actually made people excited to talk about watering grass and fixing toilets.

So, how did they manage that?

Use Only What you Need

Lack of Water in Colorado

It does go back and forth over time, but quite a few recent years in Colorado have been spent in drought conditions. Unfortunately, this has caused many devastating wildfires and other environmental impacts. It’s something that residents of the state are having to get used to, but the water companies are realizing the problem of not having enough supply to serve their customers. They knew it wasn’t an option to just walk into houses and turn off taps, so they decided it was time to get creative.

The Use Only What You Need Campaign

It’s not very easy to convince people to give up on something that they’re used to always having, but this campaign did a great job of pointing out that people are using far more than they need. Often companies go the angle of talking about how much money the customers will save, but this plan managed to avoid that completely, and it kept things fun. The whole theme was to “Use Only What You Need,” and it generally had two comical ways of showing that people were using too much.

The first method was to show to objects, such as fire hydrants or newspaper boxes, and one would be much larger than the other. The big one would say something like “How much you water your lawn,” and the little would state “This is how much it really needs.” The bright orange installations were such a different way of looking at everyday objects that people loved interacting with them.

The second method was to take an advertising medium, often a billboard, and show that it isn’t necessary to use the whole thing. The majority of the sign would be empty, and there would just be a little spot left with the “Use Only What You Need” message.

Denver Water Outdoor Media

Everything is a Canvas

This campaign has been running for quite some time, and it has successfully shown that anything can be a starting point for an ad. It’s already been mentioned that they used fun objects of everyday life, but they also got people excited to see billboards and posters at bus stops. Let this campaign serve as a reminder that any part of your sign can be integrated into your campaign.

For example, if you’re making a campaign about not using too much water in your grass, why not change the pole that holds the billboard into a giant garden hose? Making your ads burst out of their normal constraints and into the lives of consumers is a great way to get the reaction you’re hoping for.

Denver What Use What you Need

Surprise Your Customers

Having a shocking advertisement can many times (but not always) be a very successful strategy. However, it will have even better results if you manage to break a few of the traditional barriers. This campaign used a lot of similar tactics to guerrilla marketing campaigns. One of the main characteristics of that form of advertising is to break the rules, and it also makes sure to get onto the same level as the customers (making them feel like it was created by their peers – even when it wasn’t). So we advise taking a page out of the playbook of this campaign, and give this sort of feeling to your ads in the future.

Ethical Advertising

This campaign also helps to shed a different light on advertising as a whole. It’s an area of business that’s often viewed as evil and manipulative, and this generally causes people to resist the messages that are given to them in ads. However, this campaign was all about helping the environment (commonly believed to be a worthy cause), and one of the results is that it convinced people to be more open minded towards the ads they encounter every day.

Use Only What You Need When Advertising

After seeing how successful and interesting this campaign was, you should realize how good of an idea it is to apply to your own campaigns. Use only what you need to get your message across, and do it in a way that will get your target group involved and interested. If it’s fun and creative, they’ll create the buzz around it naturally, and your business will get the boost it’s hoping for.

Have a creative idea you’re not sure about? Run it by us, we’d love to help you turn it into a great reality.

Litter Hong Kong

A Billboard that Identifies People Who Litter

Do you have an opinion on people who litter?  Almost everyone does. Unfortunately, for those living in crowded urban areas, it’s really just a fact of life. Governments and societies try to crack down on it, but many people just don’t listen.

One anti-litter group decided that enough was enough, and they took a fairly radical step to fight the problem.  But, did they cross any ethical lines themselves?  That’s up to you to decide.

The Faces of Litter

The Problem

Hong Kong is a city full of people.  As a matter of fact, the more than 7 million inhabitants crammed into such a small place ranks it as the fourth most densely populated region on the planet.

That many people always adds up to a logistical nightmare when it comes to waste disposal, but it doesn’t help that littering seems to be the official sport.  Every day, there is more than 16,000 tons of waste dumped in the city, and this has given life to the Hong Kong Cleanup Initiative.  The organization’s name is pretty straightforward about what they do, but you might be surprised to learn that they literally launched an in-your-face campaign to combat the problem.

Litter Hong Kong

Basics of the Campaign

The government has already tried many methods of going after this problem, so the campaign had to find a unique way of getting to people.  There are pretty hefty fines given to anyone caught littering, but that just wasn’t motivational enough.  This led the environmental group to team up with Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong to try and put together something that would really get people listening.  So, the strategy decided on for this campaign was to do a bit of shaming for the litterbugs in society.

They Even Found the Perfect Day to Do It

This whole project was called the Face of Litter Campaign, and they had the perfect day to launch it:  Earth Day.  Leading up to it, teams had worked to collect garbage, and they managed to pick up more than 4,000 tons from the streets.  Then, they gave it to some scientists to work their magic.

What Tech Did They Need to Do It?

Scientists at Parabon NanoLabs used Snapshot™ DNA phenotyping to analyze who had touched the various garbage samples, and this allowed them to make a digital drawing of the litterbug responsible for each individual piece.  They tended to focus on bits of garbage that would have physical bits of people left behind, and some of the favorites were coffee cups, cigarette butts, and condoms.  This technology has the ability to predict eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, shape of the face, and a lot more about people just from a tiny amount of their DNA.  It may sound like something out of science fiction, but that’s the world we live in today.

Do Not Litter Outdoor Media

What Did It Accomplish?

The Hong Kong Cleanup Initiative has some great programs in place to clean up the trash.  Unfortunately, they were really stuck in the pattern of cleaning up after people, and they weren’t having much success in preventing littering in the first place.  That’s where this campaign really helped out – it got people talking.  In only two weeks, it managed to get 3.9 million engagements on social media, and $5 million in earned media coverage.

Advertising vs. Activism

This campaign was very successful by many measurements, but it does raise some ethical questions.  The pictures that were shown were generated drawings of theoretical people, but is it appropriate to publicly shame people?  Even if it works to solve a problem, it can cause harm to people who may or may not deserve it.  We don’t have the answer to this, it’s really up to you and your own personal beliefs.

Science!

A major takeaway from this campaign is how science can be used in advertising.  It’s likely that this whole project would have been far less interesting if they had simply taken photographs of people caught in the act of littering.  It really stands out because of the amazing science that many people didn’t realize was possible, but then it was the perfect chance to convey the message once it had everyone’s attention.

How far will your advertising go?

Have you ever done anything similar to get your message across?  You don’t necessarily have to be so aggressive with your advertising tactics, but this doesn’t change the fact that pulling stunts like this will get you talked about.  So, don’t be afraid to push the limits, but make sure you’re thinking about your image as a whole before you do anything too crazy.

If you’re not sure how to do this on your own, just give us a call.  We’re ready to hear your ideas!

Puerto Rico Business

How to Promote Your Business in Puerto Rico

If you own or run a business in Puerto Rico, there are many different ways that you can promote it and try to gain a larger customer base.  The entire advertising industry has changed a lot because of the advances in technology, but that doesn’t mean the traditional methods are simply things of the past.  In today’s world, you can put signs on the side of the road, print ads in the hands of customers, or blast them with digital pixels on electronic devices.  All of these methods can work to accomplish different goals and reach different people.

Here, we’ll focus on three of the most successful strategies to use in Puerto Rico.  If you use a mixture of these methods in your business, you should see some pretty strong results.

Puerto Rico Business

1.  Billboards

Puerto Rico is densely populated, and everyone here knows that.  With more than 3.5 million individuals living together in 3,515 square miles, the island has more than 1000 people per square mile.  Mixed in with all these potential customers is about 3 million registered vehicles, so that works out to being a lot of people sitting in traffic with eyes ready to see your billboard.  Also, studies have found that more than half of people discuss interesting messages they see on billboards, and a quarter of people go to a store because of what they read.

Many of these people are already in the car and ready to go shopping, and those are pretty good odds for any marketer.

Billboards should be primarily used to target a very general audience.  There’s no way to change the sign for each customer, so a wide message about your brand is the most helpful.  Electronic signs give the possibility for quick successions of ads, but they still get blasted across the population.

Outdoor advertising like this is a great way to remind people that your company still exists.  Overall, they’re a great way to increase brand recognition.  This can really be the difference between consumers choosing your brand from a competitor’s product when they’re sitting next to each other on a shelf.

Social Media Puerto Rico

2. Social Media

There are a ton of social media platforms already, and new ones are being launched every day.  Many of these have possibilities to advertise inside of them, and they can be useful because they’ve already convinced users to give them treasure trove of personal data.  In other words, the networks know what people are interested in, so you can make sure to only pay for showing your product to consumers who are likely to buy it.

But, out of all the choices you have, Facebook is your best bet in Puerto Rico.  The amount of users on the island has been steadily increasing, and it was nearly 90% during 2015.  That means that nearly everyone has an account, and many of them use the social network on a regular basis.

You should plan on using Facebook to advertise when you have some unique and interesting content to draw people in.  There is a lot of clutter, so words alone probably won’t be noticed.  However, if you have a video or an interesting blog post to attract user’s busy eyes, you might just get a click.  If they really like what they see, they’ll share your post.  And a recommendation from a friend is something that money can’t buy!

3. Google Strategy

Don’t forget that the internet is a big place, and social media is only a small part of it.  Getting noticed in the top few results of a Google search for a broad term can be quite tough.  But, you can get pushed even higher on the list with a relatively small investment.  Using Google AdWords, you can pay to have your result pop up (with a notification that it’s a paid ad).

However, you need to make sure that you use some search engine optimization (SEO) strategies before doing this.  This is another chance to really narrow the viewers of your ad to a specific target group, so make sure you learn what people will be searching for before you write your ad – and only include the best terms.  This option should be used when you have a very specific message for a very specific group of people.

Promote Business Puerto Rico

Strategic Combination

You’ll benefit from using one of these methods, but the real power is in using all of them.  However, you don’t need to just start throwing money.  Make sure you have an overall strategy to see how they can all work together, and be careful to let them each take advantage of their specific strengths.  Don’t necessarily split your marketing budget evenly – think of it as one big number that’s going to increase your bottom line!