Posted on May 24, 2011
It's summer and time to travel. Will the roads have you board to
Billboards. They are all around us. But how many of them have
you actually "seen?" For the most part, outdoor advertising is just
visual noise, making it almost impossible to distinguish any one
We want people to know everything they can about our
organizations. So, we put it all on our billboards. Long
headline. Daily hours. Location. Web address. Phone number.
Graphics. And a really big logo.
Ironically, the more we say, the less it says. If outdoor boards
are crammed with information, the eye doesn't know where to focus,
and your key
message is lost. How much can you read when traveling past a board
at 65 mph?
Try this on your travels. Critique the outdoor boards as you
drive by them. Which ones grab your attention and which don't? What
have you absorbed? How many would you not even see if it weren't
for this visual exercise? Then ask yourself "why?"
Be a one note advertiser. When it comes to billboards, less
really is more. So how do you get there? Here are just a few
1) Do the five second test. If you had only five seconds to tell
someone one important message about your organization, what would
2) Print out the final outdoor design on a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of
paper. Display it at the end of a long hallway. What can you see
3) Keep it short. An outdoor headline should be able to
communicate your message with no more than seven words.
4) Keep it simple. Keep it clean. With so much outdoor clutter,
the only boards noticed are those that are clean. A good outdoor
board has one compelling graphic, a short catchy headline, your
logo and web address.
If you have more to say, use other media. You can tell a longer
story with print, radio, tv, and web. Each of these mediums has
limits on them
as well for effective messaging. What are they? Be your own focus
group. Do you get the message quickly and clearly? If the answer is
no, go back to the drawing board.