Sometimes even the big boys get it wrong

I was driving in Houston after paying a visit to one of my vendors, when this billboard caught my eye:

Yellow Pages billboard, almost all one color

Difficult to read? Imagine trying to read this as you speed past in a car.

Now, I look at billboards all the time; I like to know what the trends are in advertising and a great ad is something I can appreciate. But this caught my eye for all the wrong reasons. While driving past at 60 mph, I couldn’t tell what it was or who it was for.

As I’ve said before in The Art of the Billboard, bulletins like this need to be understood in 5 seconds or less. There is a reason successful billboards use high-contrast colors, they are easier to read at a distance or while zooming by in a car. If people can’t make out what is on the billboard, as in this case where the words blend in with the background, then no one is getting your message. If no one is getting your message, what is the point in paying for a billboard?

Your message needs to be tailored to its medium. Yellow Pages is in the advertising business, but they obviously don’t know billboards.

Don’t be afraid to get some help or advice before you make an investment in your advertising. It may keep you from wasting a lot of money.

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