There’s Grease Spot’s billboard display ad just ahead on Main Street. Johnny Q’s rolling down the street in his brand new convertible when the sign winks at the corner of his eye. He was distracted by a cute girl at the bus stop and doing some winking of his own. Now it’s too late. He missed it. That’s one of the disadvantages to billboard display advertising. Are there advantages to this type of advertising? You bet. Just like any advertising medium, billboards have their uses and their downfalls. What are the advantages and disadvantages to billboard display advertising?
Let’s talk a little more about our friend, Johnny Q. He might have purchased what that billboard display was promoting, had he seen the sign. Johnny Q drives this same path to work every day. Maybe tomorrow that cute girl won’t be at the bus stop. He’ll see that billboard and a thought will be planted in his head. Oil changes are just 29.99 at the Grease Spot. He sees that sign nearly every morning. Next time Johnny Q needs an oil change, guess where he’s going? Repetitive messages are one definite advantage to billboard display advertising.
Visibility can be either an advantage or disadvantage to billboard display advertising. Like Johnny Q, the average driver sees hundreds, perhaps even thousands of display billboards a day. These signs jump out at you with each turn of the steering wheel. From bus stop benches, to small sale signs, large billboards and murals on the sides of buildings, these signs are everywhere. Many get lost in the shuffle. Advertisers can turn this disadvantage into an advantage by making their sign stand out in the crowd. That’s why billboard display advertising is big, bold and bright. It has to be, in order to get our attention.
One of the advantages of billboard advertising has to do with placement. While billboards get lost in big cities, like the one where Johnny Q makes his home, they stand out well on highways. So much so, that we have made up travel games involving billboards. Anyone who has tried to find all the letters of the alphabet, knows these highway display billboards stick out like a sore thumb on a lonely stretch of highway. Dad always finds the Z first because it’s right there in front of his face. So is whatever the billboard is advertising. That’s a true advantage to billboard displays on highways.
Here’s another item that fits under both advantages and disadvantages to billboard display advertising. A billboard is meant to be seen by cars in motion. It flashes past more quickly than Johnny Q’s wink. Any writing on a billboard display must be large and to the point. If you can’t read it all, in the time it takes to pass the sign, you’re out of luck. On the other hand, if the writing is large, clear, bold and contains a very brief message, this type of advertising can be very effective.
From time to time, you may have heard of branding your product. The repetitive nature of road signs and billboards lends itself well to this task. We may not think we are influenced by advertising but our brains are only human. Seeing a product brand name repeatedly gives an implied endorsement. We are more likely to patronize brands that are familiar to us. Brightly colored messages are cheerful and lend a positive emotion to the mix. Think of those cute, neon cars wrapped in a display ad. These two conditions combine for a double whammy psychological advantage to billboard display advertising.
In addition to the repetitive effects of Johnny Q seeing the Grease Spot ad, there are other locational advantages to billboard display advertising. For one thing, no matter where it’s located, a bright, bold huge billboard is hard to ignore. When properly done, it stands out in a crowd. Secondly, billboard display advertising can be strategically placed to draw the best demographic. Also, dependent on location, billboard display ads can be very cost effective. On the other hand, your chosen location for billboard display advertising can be a disadvantage as well. Some locations are pricier than others.
To sum it up, there are both advantages and disadvantages to billboard display advertising. A bright, bold, clear and concise sign in the right location can be a very effective means of advertising. On the other hand, a poorly done sign can fade into the background of a metro area. Highway signs have the advantage of being the only thing to look at for miles. If not well worded, they can be a disadvantage too. Depending on placement, billboard display advertising can reach the audience you need at a reasonable cost. Depending on how the advantages and disadvantages of billboard display advertising impact your business, it could be an extremely positive media.