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Build Some Buzz Through Billboards

Radio stations too often view billboard creative just as a branding exercise

So maybe you think you need to invest your entire brand advertising budget in digital/online/social platforms only. The music industry knows better. The new cutting-edge platform being used for many top-tier artists? Billboards!

It seems counterintuitive that great billboard advertising can get fans talking on social media, but it is a fact that the music industry noticed years ago.

Example: Drake’s album releases and concert appearances have been promoted regularly on billboards since 2011. The campaigns are clever and sometimes only understood by his legions of fans, which adds to his allure and makes one feel as if they’re part of a special club of insiders.

More than ever, it’s important to recognize that big billboards require big thinking. Out-of-home has always had the potential to be sexy, controversial and cost effective, but radio stations advertising their own product too often view billboard creative as a branding exercise.

Times-Shamrock Communications ran this series of billboards to highlight its Rock 107 format in a pandemic context.

To get the most out of your creative, it may be necessary to contract an advertising agency that specializes in getting attention.
You should consider testing your creative. The message must be so simple that it can be understood from a moving car in just a few seconds and yet it still should generate some emotion as soon as it is seen. Fortunately, it’s not difficult or expensive to test creative, either online or through in-person focus groups.

One challenge with billboards is that it’s difficult for some folks to see the creative on a computer screen and then try to imagine what it will look like when it’s blown up to huge proportions and seen from a distance. When in doubt, make one board, put it up, and rethink before making 20 of them.

[Read More Promo Power Here]

If you’re still not sold on the relevance of outdoor advertising, consider the success of Apple’s and Amazon’s recent campaigns. “Shot on iPhone” shows rotating selfies on digital billboards. The creative shows off Apple’s smartphone camera features and the quality of the imagery is gorgeous, proving without a doubt that new iPhones take terrific photographs.

The hashtags are taking the campaign from the boards to social and back to the boards to see more. Amazon is using motion to grab attention. Passersby in New York are now seeing otherworldly creatures appear to jump out of gigantic billboards in promotion of Amazon’s new “Wheel of Time” series.

You won’t be able to afford to cover your entire city by buying up boards everywhere, but you can place ads on boards where you have the most potential for growing audience.

Or maybe your entire goal with a board or two is to gain the attention of a specific company, media outlet or even individual. The movie industry is famous for placing boards where stars and producers can see them so that the star will do more appearances to promote the film, or the producer will see that the studio is actively advertising the product.

Billboards are the perfect place to launch stunts and fortunately, digital boards can go up and come down quickly. Capture reactions of social media and amplify on-air and all your platforms. If your stunt is good, the action will catch fire. Putting out that fire is a topic for another day!