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Get the Most out of Your Outdoor Ads

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It need not be a huge billboard. It can be an extra large poster, a tarpaulin streamer or a painted section of galvanized iron sheet. It could be the metal shutter or the wall of your shop. But outdoor is by far the simplest and cost-effective advertising medium to manage.

Here are the ELEVEN THINGS the Business Line staff put together to help entrepreneurs think about advertising outdoors.

Put the BIG IDEA up front. One of the most memorable signs for an outdoor advertiser is along the South Expressway – “A business with No Sign is a Sign of No Business.”

Less is more. Practice the art of brevity. Use one picture and seven words or less of copy.

Use bold lettering. Avoid fancy lettering. To be readable at 30 meters, letters must be at least three inches high. At 130 meters, they must be at least a foot high.

Use art for impact. Images enlarged to “heroic proportions” are great for appeal.

Use color for readability. The most readable is black on yellow. Stick to primary colors. Stay away from reverse.

It all boils down to location, location, location. Use outdoor ads to tell drivers your gas station is down the road, or pedestrians that your store is across the street.

Outdoor is for quick reach. With people switching to cable or the net, the prospective customer is likely to notice the outdoor streamer announcing your new product or sale across the street from the local grocery.

Visualize your art in context. Have your outdoor sign reduced to about three inches high, so you can get the same size impression from across your office as driving by 30 meters away.

Check out the site before you set up. Your sign might end up in shadow, blocked by trees, power lines or construction.

Match your material to the conditions. A silk-screened polyester streamer will be brighter than a hand-painted one made of coco-cloth. But a tarpaulin streamer, through it costs a bit more, can withstand the elements many times better than polyester.

It need not cost you to turn out art. Desktop publishing systems, digital scanners and cameras allow entrepreneurs to create their own budget art. All you need is to store the material on a disk and have a reputable sign maker print it in the dimension and on the material of choice. Or you can print it out and have a local painter replicate it on the appropriate surface.

The Medium is the Message
What media should you choose to get your message across? Each one has a particular strength and your choice of one or more will depend on the objectives you want to achieve.

Newspapers are good medium for reaching people who want news, which can be delivered through advertisements, specialty ads or articles. Magazines are for more involved or focused readers. Radio is the most intimate, allowing you to spend time one on one with the audience. TV is most comprehensive. In the Philippines, television is fast displacing radio as the source of commercial and broadcast information among households. Outdoor advertising from a silk-screened banner to floodlit photographic billboard – is the simplest and gets your message across 24 hours a day. Direct mail helps you take aim. Brochures provide great detail. Seminars are suggested when you want to sell yourself and your ideas. Internet – useless for prospects unless it is advertised. Companies maximize exposure by including their website in calling cards, billboards, flyers, mailers, corporate giveaways, company vehicles and product labels. Trade shows are events to make contracts with purchase minded people. Sponsorships build stronger relationships with clients or the community. Telephone marketing is most effective when used with another medium, e.g. mailer, Internet, etc.

Source: Business Line Vol. 2 No. 1 2004

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