Beyond the Billboard

Beyond the Billboard

What does outdoor advertising mean to you?  Did you immediately think of a 14×48 standard billboard along a busy highway?  You’re not alone.  Most people think of standard billboards because they have been around for over 100 years. That’s right! The first “billboard” was erected in 1889 at the Paris Exposition and later at the 1892 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.   This was before even the first motor vehicle, the Model T, was released in the United States in 1908.  As you can imagine, once Americans were traveling along the roads in automobiles, the idea of the billboard really took off!

Since that time, outdoor advertising has evolved in many ways.  The traditional static billboard has remained a staple in the industry, but the addition of 3-dimensional options (think Chic-Fil-A cows) has taken even this traditional choice to the extreme.  Now there are billboards and “posters” of different sizes and shapes across roadways and cities nationwide.  Digital billboards have allowed multiple advertisers to share the same space and eliminated the need for large vinyl production costs.  In 2010, a scented billboard was even released in North Carolina, emitting odors similar to charcoal and pepper grill scents to promote the sale of beef.

But billboards in their many forms are far from the only option for outdoor advertising.  Non-traditional outdoor has evolved into many forms that allow advertisers to hit potential customers even when they are not driving down the road.

Newer options target consumers on buses, trains, planes and more.  Ads are prevalent in the bus shelters, at train stations or in airports nationwide.  Benches can feature printed ads.  Trains and buses can be “wrapped” with product information. Audio spots can run inside commuter vehicles to reach riders from every angle.  Ads can even be printed inside taxi cabs, in airline seatback magazines, and on the train platforms at every stop along the line.

Arriving at a destination does not mean that messaging stops.  Outside of their vehicle of choice, the American consumer can be reached no matter where they go.  Shopping mall marketing offers the ability to hang banners from the ceilings, print on the doors of elevators, and light up the sides of the mall directories with your product.  Movie theaters run ads in the lobby to those standing in line for popcorn, and run video ads on the big screen while eager viewers wait for their show to start.  Grocery stores can deliver impressions printed right on the conveyor belt.  Restaurants and bars can print ads on coasters, menus and even hang signs in bathroom stalls to allow advertisers to keep their product top of mind.  Sporting venues have ads on scoreboards, along seating areas, announced on the PA systems and offer product sampling to attendees.  Schools offer advertising in hallways, yearbooks and in extra-curricular printed programs.  Healthcare offices sell space in their waiting rooms and exam rooms to promote products while people are awaiting care.  Even gas stations can target travelers with signage and videos right at the pump.

These are all just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the options that advertisers have to reach consumers when they step outside their door.  Marketing companies and even everyday venues are constantly coming up with new opportunities to sell space and time to those advertisers eager to reach people in a non-traditional format.  Advertising agencies typically embrace the novelty of these options as a way to provide their clients with new and exciting opportunities.  What’s your favorite to sell to your clients?

Just a reminder that BluHorn® offers an outdoor worksheet type that will allow you to book your choice of advertising in a customizable format.  Whether it’s a billboard along the nearest tollway, or a poster above the ticket booth at a local ballpark, we’ve got you covered!

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