Billboard advertisements are probably the most cost-effective method of advertising. They are placed strategically – usually on motorways, but can also be hung off buildings – and thousands of people cannot help but see them as they drive or walk past. Generally speaking, the price of a month of billboard advertising is roughly equal to a half page colour advertisement in a newspaper, and so many more people are exposed to a billboard than to the press. Over the years this form of advertising has become a multi-million dollar industry.
When billboard advertising first became popular, the billboards were hand-painted. This was, of course, very time consuming and expensive. Over time they evolved into boards made of many layers of paper, onto which the advertisement was printed, but they did not last long because of weather conditions and they also tended to fade. Nowadays they are mostly made of vinyl, which is the perfect material for the computerised and digitally changing messages in use at present. The very latest billboards are three dimensional and may even have moving parts attached to them, such as flags, to increase interest. There are also scented billboards which emit, for example, food aromas and which direct you to a specific restaurant. Another good ploy is to have one part of your advertising message on each of succeeding billboards, thus keeping the driver’s interest over a longer period of time.
The most important factor to remember in billboard advertising is that the message should be very short as it has to be read – in most cases – as the target of such advertising drives past at quite a speed. A clever slogan, bright colours and large lettering will attract attention from afar. In fact, everything printed on an advertising billboard should be big, bright and bold. Billboards hung from buildings have the luxury of being able to have more information and to be more explicit, as pedestrians can stop to read them.
Advertising billboards are usually situated along major roadways and highways. Not only to they advertise specific products, but they highlight businesses and products in the areas one is driving toward and are therefore a crucial factor in drawing business to small and outlying towns. They are also be used on smaller roads, usually to direct customers to a specific place of business. Billboards are used within towns and cities too, which give wide coverage – just think of Times Square in New York, where there are literally hundreds of messages on all the buildings and thousands of people passing through continuously.
Advertising billboards may be rented – usually on a monthly basis – and one then has the opportunity of changing the advertisement on a regular basis. The more billboards one has printed with the same message for use in different areas, the lower the cost overall.
There may be one small downside to advertising billboards – the chance of them distracting drivers and causing accidents but, on the flip side, they definitely reduce boredom and keep drivers alert.