Wasted Money on Billboards

When I drive the interstate and major streets near my home I pass a few billboards that make me sad and a bit frustrated. I look at them and feel bad for whoever is paying the bill each month. Why? Because they might was well just flush that money down the nearest toilet. Not because billboards aren’t effective advertising. They can be very effective. Well, they are when done correctly. When not, they are just wasted money. One billboard in particular is beautifully designed for a major company. I only wish that I could read what it said. The type used in the design is too thin and too small to read while driving by. That particular billboard design might work in town but not on an interstate. Each billboard placement requires different design requirements. In this case the company even paid extra to have the board extend beyond the frame with interesting shapes, images and colors. It really catches the eye. I have no idea what it is selling though. Too bad. because I would like to know. I’ve purchased billboards in that same area for clients in the past. The company paid about $3K for production and is paying another $800 per month for the placement. I’m sure it is a 12 month contract so that would be well over $10K wasted without even figuring in the design costs they probably paid the agency.
Another billboard I pass on the busiest street in my town is for the local non-profit musical performance group. I really feel bad when a non-profit organization is wasting money on billboards. This one attempts to promote the anniversary of the esteemed organization. It is barely readable. Once again bad typography works against it. It doesn’t have the benefit of appealing design or images either as the first one did. The photography used isn’t great. It wasn’t cleaned up well or color corrected for effectiveness. There is a giant wall sconce visible in the background perched right next to the face of the focal point. It could have easily been removed so that all the emphasis was on him. I know what the billboard is promoting because I am familiar with the organization, but I would bet that most people pass right by it and never know. It doesn’t sell the message or the organization.
So, if you plan to get a billboard designed in the future, I have some advice for you. When the design is sent to you for approval, tack  it to the wall and then go stand across the room a good eight to ten feet away from it. Then decide if the design is ready. Better yet, walk into the room and then walk right back out. Was the design effective? Did the colors grab you? Was the message clear? Did it achieve the goal? Would it sell you? You should also have someone not as familiar with the project walk in and out from a distance and get their opinions. Ask them what it said? Did it interest them?
Please don’t waste your advertising money though. Billboards are very effective when done properly. Otherwise they are an expensive risk. I also suggest getting some professional help from an ad agency or a designer working specifically for you. Element 37 can help with your next billboard design. Just contact us for a free estimate.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.