Out of all the arts of advertising, billboard advertising is the easiest to get wrong. People ignore billboards by instinct, to them it is the visual equivalent to white noise, to be seen and discarded in the proverbial recycling bin immediately afterwards. As such, there are some very clear things you should absolutely avoid when making a billboard. If you’re interested in advertising through billboards in New Mexico, here are the top don’ts of billboard advertising.
#1. Using more than six words
Word brevity is king in billboards. You want to hold people’s attention, but not too long (more on that later) in order to ensure your message has gotten across without taking the driver’s eyes off of the road too long. It’s also good for getting your message out quickly and succinctly, as six words is the maximum amount of information a driver trying to focus on the road can internalize before passing the billboard.
#2. Overload with information
This is different from #1 because there are a variety of different ways you can do this. You can make the design of the advertisement itself overly busy with visuals, or loaded down with visual cues that the average driver simply isn’t going to get, or you can fill it up with words and contact information in such a way that the driver has no idea what to focus on first. Your advertisement will completely go over your audience’s heads if you do any of the above, and then congratulations, you’ve just wasted however much money it took to put that billboard there in the first place.
Whatever you do, do not wholly distract the drivers from the road. This can lead to accidents, resulting in injury or death, and the media will tear your company apart for it. This happened to Wonderbra back when they released their “Hello boys” series of billboards. People were so fixated on the cleavage on the board that they failed to notice the pole/rail/other driver they were barreling towards. You also don’t want to situate your billboard in such a way that it obscure road signs or other visual aids for drivers.
Billboard advertising is tricky business, to say the least. You need to catch the driver’s eye just long enough to get the pitch out and into their minds, but you don’t want to overstay your welcome, or cause them to crash because you were too distracting. Don’t be afraid to test a billboard design dozens upon dozens of times, to make sure you get it right. For many, this will be your first impression, and we all know how many retries at those you get with people.
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