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Row of Outdoor BillboardsWhen people think of Outdoor Advertising, they usually think of the colorful billboards along our streets and highways. Included in the “outdoor” classification, however, are benches, posters, signs and transit advertising (the advertising on buses, subways, taxicabs and trains).  They are all share similar advertising rules and methods.

Outdoor advertising reaches its audience as an element of the environment.  Unlike newspaper, radio or TV, it doesn’t have to be invited into the home.  And it doesn’t provide entertainment to sustain its audience.

Some Outdoor Advertising Advantages:

  • Since it is in the public domain, Outdoor Advertising assuredly reaches its audience.  People can’t “switch it off” or “throw it out.” People are exposed to it whether they like it or not. In this sense, outdoor advertising truly has a “captured audience.”
  • It’s messages work on the advertising principle of “frequency.” Since most messages stay in the same place for a period of a month or more, people who drive by or walk past see the same message a number of times.
  • Particular locations can be acquired for certain purposes. A billboard located a block in front of your business can direct people to your showroom. Or you can reach rural areas efficiently by placing a billboard in each small town.
  • Outdoor advertising is an excellent adjunct to other types of advertising you are doing. In fact, it is most effective when coupled with other media.

Some Outdoor Advertising Disadvantages:

  • Outdoor advertising is a glance medium.  At best, it only draws 2-3 seconds of a reader’s time.
  • Messages must be brief to fit in that 2-3 second time frame.  Ninety-five percent of the time, either the message or the audience is in motion.
  • The nature of the way outdoor advertising is bought (usually a three month commitment) is not conducive to a very short, week-long campaign.

When an advertiser buys outdoor advertising, they must remember that location is everything.

High traffic areas are ideal. A billboard in an undesirable area will do little good to the advertiser. So for the person investing in billboards, this must be a priority to keep in mind.  The advertising message must be kept message concise (must use only five to seven words) and it must be made creatively appealing to attract readership. Few words, large illustrations (or photos), bold colors and simple backgrounds will create the most effective outdoor advertising messages.

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