What's the Deal With Billboards?
I just got back from a fantastic — however, too short — trip to the Adirondacks. I unplugged, showed my boyfriend one of my favorite places on earth, did some hiking, played in a ridiculous 3-inning wiffle ball tournament with my cousins and regularly wondered during my drive up north why certain marketers still feel the need to invest in billboards.
Now, don't get me wrong ... the billboards that alert you to an upcoming deluxe truck stop in 10 miles, or a brewery and restaurant two exits away are 100 percent okay by me. They provide travelers with quick information that is actionable 98 percent of the time. Good deal.
However, the billboard for a digital agency that I saw on 95 North? That is a billboard I question.
Now, I didn't get a shot of the billboard because I was driving, and mentioning WHO it is also doesn't really matter for this post. Why? Because I don't know much about this company (though I just did a little googling), and I think I want to keep looking at this from a blind perspective. So let's get back to that.
The billboard hails the company as an expert in SEO, PPC, social, Web design ... all things that are digital, pasted onto essentially a huge sign by the interstate. And sure, we see display ads everywhere: bus stop shelters, inside train cars, on subway walls. But in most of those settings, the prospect is sitting or standing still, can take in the information, and if there is a call to action, can take it.
Because they're not driving a vehicle 72 mph down the highway.
I'm not sure how many people are going to be able to take action on a billboard like that. Perhaps if they drive that way to work every day, the name will stick in their heads and they'll remember to look the company up once they get in the office ... maybe. Depends on how gnarly that inbox is.
But I certainly hope I don't see someone looking this company up on their phone as they floor it to get to work on time.
So I ask: Why? What's the point for this kind of advertising? On one hand you might tell me that this company sticks out among the Utz pretzel and various beer billboards (all brand exposure focused), and on the other hand I'll say that I don't know if I can trust a company who sinks cash into billboards. And don't get me started on the billboards I've seen with QR Codes (thankfully, fewer and fewer nowadays).
That said, the digital billboards that Netflix had for the Santa Clarita Diet were pretty great.
So marketers tell me: Yay or nay to billboard advertising.