The amount of poorly designed billboards on display throughout Brisbane is utterly amazing. At between $10,000 – $30,000 (or more) depending on the location and duration it seems like it should be a job requiring much attention to detail. Obviously not…
I so often see billboard designs which have the following misjudgements:
1. Text so small you would need to scale the post and borrow some reading glasses just so you can read what it says. This is a hazard for drivers (maybe even pedestrians!), and the company who invested an amount equivalent to a new family automobile. Neither will witness a positive outcome.
2. Clashing colours. It was only yesterday I drove down the M1 towards Brisbane and noticed a new billboard up with a bright orange, yellow and silver colour scheme. With a delightful mix of bright sunshine, commercial buildings and nature surrounding this fixture there is no way they had an on-location mock up so they could test run the design PRIOR to printing and public display.
3. Advertising and event co-ordination. When you book a billboard you are aware that it has a life span of usually around 4 weeks. With this in mind, you would think that a bit of pre-planning would come into it making the end date of the display right before the date of the advertised event. Apparently not everyone believes in such logic as I have seen countless billboards where the event had occurred a week or more prior. What a waste of advertising.
4. Location, Location. It would seem some advertisers dont visit the site prior to their selection, ones covered with over grown trees or other visibility issues always tend to be full, even if their target audience cant even see the ad at all.
In the end a great deal of research should always go into a successful billboard advertising campaign. Reaching a mass market will bring in a lot of new business and the more attention to detail, the better the results. Remember to request a mock up of your design super imposed into the destined location. This gives you a perfect understanding of what it will look like and how visible it is. Many billboard companies supply you with sample photos of their sites plus they have a tool that will display the visibility of your design at a variety of distances – ideal for judging the impact timeframe your ad will have. The higher the visibility the more involved the message can be. If you are only capturing minimal attention on a stretch of freeway that is 110km the message should be short and powerful. If you select an area that is in the CBD, destined for a peak-hour audience twice a day you can increase the length of the message knowing it is a captive audience who has the time to figure it out.
One of the best designs i have seen in the CBD were the crossword and sudoku billboards. Clever and engaging. The perfect combination and a sign it was well thought out, designed to scale and it reached the target audience. A clever design keeps people talking days after seeing it, and that is true success.
It is not a cheap investment to create such a large scale advertising campaign – it is worth doing properly.