Oldest advertising medium tries to be experimental

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Bill-boardOut of Home advertising has moved ahead of being just a Billboard. This 300 year old advertising medium is very much around but is no more the medium leading a campaign. Marketers have plenty of options and importance of billboard has downgraded in the last decade.

Efficiency of billboard advertising depends entirely on the strategic positioning of the board. Speaking about the advantages using billboards in advertising, Junaid Shaikh, Managing Director, Roshan Space said, “Cost per Impression (CPM), even in the case of most expensive locations like the airport or just across a very busy flyover is much less compared to all other mediums.” Marketers for a long time have utilized this giant space as an impactful reminding tool. For trespassers the billboard is still successful in creating a space in their subconscious mind. Of all other factors, billboard is the only medium which is offered for free to the audience. If billboards are so beneficial, why has it lost its importance?

While the above mentioned reasons are enough to lure marketers, billboards have lost significance because this space has not evolved as much as other mediums in the advertising space. In a stretch of 10 kilometers, a person comes across more than 100 billboards but none of them stands out. According to Shaikh, “The challenge in its usage is to mark an impression on the mind of the consumer in a time span of 2 seconds for which the billboard is exposed before a person.” With not many companies being serious about this methodology, few of them, which have tried to be different, have gained more than their efforts.

Mc Donald’s Burning Billboard
Mumbai’s Mahim Causeway allows 2.5 lakh passenger cars to pass by daily and Mc Donald’s launched their spice fest campaign on a 40 ft X 20 ft billboard for seven days. On the first day, audiences saw an entire burger with the McDonald’s logo. From the second day onwards the burger was surrounded by flames emitting real smoke. As the seventh day approached, one could see a billboard with a hole in the shape of a burger.

Hutch India’s Ditto & More
Simplicity of message is key in making any billboard campaign unique. Shaikh stressed on the simplicity of message on a billboard by citing an old example – one of the famous billboard campaigns of Hutch India now Vodafone, was Ditto & More. It came up when most of the telecom companies had put up their billboards offering free minutes, best service and boasting about the quality of network. Hutch India played smart with their message “Ditto & More” which were just two words and very quickly grabbed the eyeballs as it played on what others had to say.

Witty Amul Billboards
Amul’s butter girl has been appearing on the strategic billboards across the country for more than 50 years and every alternate day, a witty comment on the trending topic of the times, has made this young brand ambassador-led campaigns, the most consistently noticed billboards for years. In fact, these uniquely eye-catching billboards have spawned a series of witty memes on Facebook too.

Talking Billboards
Bill-board--2Roshan Space’s initiative to utilize the empty billboards for something significant is yet another way to increase interactivity with the most static advertising platform. Messages like ‘Sorry TV! People look at me for 1295955 seconds more’ and ‘Sorry Print! I win by 743200 square cm’ have drawn attention to the strength of outdoor advertising over other mediums of communication. The messages have also been placed at certain strategic locations, which help people in relating to them, thus making them relevant and effective. For example, the billboard near a Hospital tells motorists, “Absolutely, positively, no honking here!” Messages like ‘Do not drink and drive’ are especially relevant during the party season in December and ‘Throwing stuff out of the car doesn’t make it clean?’ all have an undertone of common social concerns. This initiative not just grabs the attention, but people subconsciously subscribe to these billboards and look forward to see what’s coming next.

Digital Billboards
Digitization has transformed most of the advertising space, and billboards have also turned digital. In future, billboards can prove to be one of the most engaging and interactive channels for brands. Giant billboards with questions like “ten things you want to do before you die” and with a display broadcasting customers message towards the lower end of billboard has pulled the crowd waiting to see their message in the display.


As billboard advertising is yet to be tapped for its full potential, the use of augmented reality, digital interaction and scanning billboards for the QR codes to get discounts are increasingly becoming popular in the international markets and will very soon be adopted in India. In the present times, any advertising platform which can bring about customer engagement and interactivity is going to become the marketer’s favorite. As the use of digital technology is proving to be the game changer in the advertising industry, it might also turn the fortunes for the oldest advertising medium in the country.

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