A successful billboard advert must be 3 things: it must be Powerful, compelling and Funny. We are talking to people who drive at 60mph, how then do you partially direct their attention to your billboard ad so as to pass across your message? Well, below are Ten Commandments of Billboard advertising that you must obey to get the best of your billboard ad.
1. Thou shall not exceed 7 words: Viewers generally have 4-5 seconds to see and understand your ad therefore a wordy billboard is the worst way to get your audience’s attention. You can communicate your message in just 7 words or even less. Like they say, less is more. In other words, your billboard ad should contain only words that are succinct, clear and precise enough to communicate your message in that short and brisk moment. This billboard totally flouted this rule
2. Thou shall avoid superfluous words or images: Some billboards, like the one below, contain unnecessary words and images that are not relevant to the billboard message. Just because you have a cute dog doesn’t meant it has to feature on your billboard. Streamline your messages to suit your target audience making sure that whatever picture or image to be used also complements your words.
3. Thou shall not commit color faux pas: You can’t have a billboard with ill-matching colours that can literally put your audiences off mere looking at it. Try looking at a bill-board with large fonts placed against a sky-blue/yellow background, with the words written in green and red. I can only but imagine what that kind of billboard will achieve. I’d bet it will only succeed in repelling road-users instead of attracting them. Ensure to use complementing colors that arrests your audience’s attention and not displace them. If you want to be daring enough to use contrasting colors, caution should be applied so as not to pass an un-intended message.
4. Thou shall limit the contact details on your billboard: a billboard’s primary function is to create awareness about a product or service. Therefore, attempting to use it as an avenue to get a direct response from your audience is wrong. If you want to communicate all information about your product, including all the available means of contacting you, then a more extensive advertising medium like newspapers and television should be used. Can a worker, who is running late for work, come out of his/her car to copy down the list of numbers, emails and website addresses crammed up in your billboard ad?
5. Thou shall not ignore thy audience: I believe the primary purpose of putting up a billboard ad is to communicate a message about your product or service to your audience so ignoring that vital element means rendering your billboard ad useless. Endeavour to tailor your billboard message to your target audience. Make sure you know who your target audience are and speak to them in the language they understand. This ad is a clear case if mixed advertisement, different messages
6. Thou shall not distract your audience: your billboard message should attract people and leave a lasting impression in their minds and not cause accidents and traffic jam. This particular ad by Calvin Klein has left people wondering whether the adverts are too obscene for the public. This kind of advert is sure enough to distract the average motorist
7. Thou shall not stick to system fonts: Avoid using generic fonts like arial, times and the likes. It only makes your billboard look very boring and not intriguing enough. However, this is not a license to use every font that is italicized, bold and unreadable. Use fonts that are large, bold, legible, read-able and at the same time attractive.
8. Thou shall test-run your billboard ad: In other words, conduct a pilot study of your billboard to get an objective view about the colors, images, words and other elements in your billboard. Showing the billboard to other people gives you the opportunity to see how different people interpret your message. If their interpretation matches your intended message, then your billboard is good to go.
9. Thou shall not always call to action: There is this over-popular but false notion that every billboard should have a call to action. The mere fact that you placed a billboard ad implies that you want whoever sees your ad to purchase your product or patronize your services. So inducing a call to action in all your billboards connote the wrong notion that your audience is not smart enough to know that your ad is enticing them to buy your product.
10. Thou shall break the rules: Only after you have mastered all the rules in the book. However, this can only be done with a deliberate purpose rooted in a strong concept. If you have an outstanding idea that will create a huge buzz around your billboard ad but will require you flouting some of the rules, then go ahead. As long as it doesn’t defeat the purpose for which it was done.