You guys may or may not be familiar with these, but in Atlanta…HD billboards are the growing trend of roadside advertisement. The idea behind these hi-def lcd billboards is fantastic, but the application is horrible.
Ideally, these HD billboards should be a win/win combo for both the billboard owner and the advertiser. The advertiser gets a slightly lower rate for a high traffic area by sharing that ad space with other advertisers. On top of that…the advertiser has the ability to split test advertising programs much easier with the aid of a digital format. They can forget about the cost of large printouts and focus solely on digital content that delivers the best results (tough to measure given the lack of ad metrics associated with blanket advertising).
For the billboard owner, you now get increased revenue off a single board by hosting multiple ads in one space. You command a lower rate but spread across several customers. As an increased benefit for the higher cost of the board, the billboard owner can swap ads easily and be more flexible on terms.
So with all of this added benefit to both advertisers and ad space owners, why are HD billboards worthless? That can be answered with one simple question…
Have you driven by one ad on a HD billboard that you can actually read??
All of the ads in Atlanta on these HD billboards are horrible! Keep in mind…this is to no fault of the hosting company. These advertisers have gone crazy with the digital format trying to cram as much information on the billboard as possible. The result is small lettering and overly detailed pictures. As you drive by these ads, it is impossible to make out the content and by the time you pass the board during your 5 split seconds of advertising consumption…you don’t know what the company was, what they are selling and why you need it!
The main focus of advertising is to capture your attention just long enough so that you complete some form of action. Most of the time, this is a purchase of some kind of service or product. How are you supposed to consume this good if you don’t know what it is or where it came from?
The advertisers on these HD billboards need to get back to the basics. Display your logo clearly. In billboard advertising…this means LARGE enough where drivers passing by with other things on their mind remember it readily. Add a simple one line tag line that compliments some sort of picture that stimulates the senses. You have about 5 seconds to connect with your potential customer, so do not waste it on meaningless drivel that they can’t even read at 80 mph anyway.
If you want your potential customers to go to your website, display your web address in large letters…if you want them to call you, again…display your number large enough where they will remember it! It seems like an incredibly simple concept, but many advertisers today are forgetting the fundamentals. Look at the example to the right. As you drive by this advertisement on 285, all you remember is “Hello Georgia”. The logo is too small and there is no call to action. This advertisement is a complete waste of money and resources for the insurance company that is trying to promote its product to potential clients.
One of the best examples I have ever seen of billboard advertising is Chic-fil-A. Next time you drive by one…take a close look. There is a huge Chic-fil-A logo, a gigantic cow that everyone knows and loves and a slogan that goes something along the lines of…”eat more chicken”. Simple…to the point…and connects with its target audience. That is all it takes!
So…a word to the HD billboard ad developers out there…GET BACK TO ADVERTISING BASICS! You’re overly complicated, small print ads are not working…not because that are nessessarily bad ads…but because no one can read them given the advertising medium! You might as well throw your money out the window…