Todd Turner AKA “The Billboard Guy.”
Or, Todd The Billboard Guy Turner.
Okay, enough of that. He hates it when we call him the Billboard Guy. But what can we say? He is.
Todd Turner is our resident Art Director and creative extraordinaire. He comes to us with a 15-year background in, you guessed it, billboards. And he was kind enough to sit down and chat with us about his three billboard best practices.
We put emphasis on the word his, because you might find that the billboard industry would tell you otherwise. Basic industry best practices will send you off into the world with a few notes about color and readability. But if you want to get down to the nitty gritty on how to make it actually work? Don’t worry — we’ve got a guy for that.
Alright. Officially ending this rah rah intro and diving straight into what you came for. (Insert Calvin Harris lyrics, “baby, this is what you came for.”)
1. My dad always said, “If you’re bored, you’re boring.”
Don’t be boring. Got it? Okay, great — now go design a billboard!
Seriously, folks. Boring ads never got us anywhere. And neither will boring billboards. Because billboards can often feel like a pretty large investment, many businesses fall into the trap of treating their billboard like a business card. They’ll slap their logo, address, and phone number onto a 14×48 sheet of vinyl, and expect the world to care.
Forget your contact information — the people have the Google machine for that. Instead, you’ve got to tell them something they don’t already know. And you’ve got to make that message interesting and intriguing so it will stick in their brains for the long haul.
Repeating the words of his former creative director, Todd often says, “100% of boring ads don’t matter.”
2. Do what your Apple Watch tells you — Get moving!
Do you own a convenient store, hotel, or tourist attraction in one location only? Move on. This part isn’t for you. But for everyone else, stay tuned. This is how we advertisers work smarter, not harder.
According to Todd, most billboard companies will offer a rotary program so you can post your ad on a different billboard every 60 days or so. This keeps your message from becoming landscape to the people who will see it most often.
When you move that baby around, people will start seeing you in different locations, which gives off the allusion that you’re EVERYWHERE.
Perpetuate the myth, people — keep it moving!
3. That’s showbiz, baby
Production. Production. Production.
And one more time for the people in the back. Production!
Spending some money on extra effects and production is key to a memorable billboard. Add-ons like 3D extensions or lighting effects bring your message to life — and to a completely different playing field.
The good news? Most billboard companies want the best creative showcased on their boards. So even if your extensions or lighting makes moving your billboard a little more difficult, these companies are likely to work with you to get it done.
When people see unique billboards that use extra effects to tell the story, they’re only going to be more impressed. And an impressed audience will talk about your brand for years to come, even when the billboard is long gone.
So, can we learn something from basic industry best practices? Of course. Like any form of advertising, following design trends, keeping headlines short and easy to read, and paying attention to accessibility are all important factors to consider.
But those basic best practices, well, they’re only going to help you create a good billboard.
And we’re not looking for good. We’re looking great.
Spend a little extra time thinking about the details and understanding the different ways to utilize outdoor media. And once you hit that Big Idea, get ready — your brand will (literally) be yelling from the rooftops.