Lately, I have been driving a lot from Dallas to Austin and back. Interstate 35. Two hundred miles of nothing but construction, detours, bumper-to-bumper traffic. And, lest we forget about those truckers who are so far up your tailpipe they can swig off that Big Gulp you bought at Exit 119.
But, I can take the congestion on ol’ I-35. What I can’t take are the awful outdoor boards that litter the byways. If you think radio advertising is in the dumper, think again. Nothing is worse than the state of outdoor advertising. But just not along that 200 mile stretch of asphalt between Dallas and Austin. It is mile-after-mile of nothing but clutter….urban scurge. Billboards, another reason to hate advertising.
With the exception of a tastefully executed campaign for What-A-Burger (the food looks appetizing and they tell you where to turn in plenty of time) and a board for Starbucks that says, “Start your blinkers”, there’s nothing even remotely creative about the medium. (You would think that Lamar, the outdoor company that sells the space, would have a decent board up. But no! They are the worst. For example, they show baby chickens with the words “cheap, cheap, cheap.” Whatever.)
I was taught in college the two simple rules of outdoor advertising…seven words (preferably less) and a logo. Not tough. That way, at 70 miles per hour, a person can read the board and react. Very simple. But someone musta read the commandments wrong. Now, it’s seventy words and a logo so small there is no way you can see it as you rocket down I-35 at 20 MPH.
I am thinking about taking a picture of every board between Dallas and Austin and sending them to the advertiser, with a simple note…Stop Wasting Your Money! Turn into jimbobkrause. Seven words. Works for me.
By the way, if you’d like to see some truly great outdoor advertising, go to www.oaaa.org and take a look at the Obie Awards.