Street Advertising - Making the Audience Come to You

When it comes to promoting your business, a successful advertising campaign will not only spread the word about your products and/or services, but it will also attract customers and generate sales. One way you can do this is through street advertising, such as billboard ads, A-Frames, bus stations and street signs.

Here are some tips for creating an effective street ad:

1. Develop a message and concept - When designing a street advertising campaign, you must have a message and a concept to deliver the message to your audience. Consider drawing a mind map and write down your ideas. You should be able to come up with a catch-phrase or slogan that will grab the audience’s attention. Then sketch your ideas into thumbnail images, for example, to develop a concept for conveying your message.

2. Convey your message with no more than 7 words and within 6-10 seconds - A driver, whether they’re driving or at the stoplight, will not be able to or won’t read a street ad that has over 7 words. They should be able to read your message in 6-10 seconds, so keep your ad short and simple. Time is of the essence, and fewer words deliver more impact.

3. Don’t use system fonts - Forget about Arial, Impact and Times New Roman, as they make your ad appear generic and you could lose credibility. Likewise, don’t bold, compress or italicise fonts. Use unique, custom fonts that convey the personality of your brand. Frutiger LT Std 75 Black is good for large text, whereas Frutiger LT Std 65 Bold is good for smaller text. It’s a very readable font used for large ads, and is popular in advertising. This font is good for billboards, as it allows drivers to view and read ads quickly.

4. Consider font size and spacing for readability - The ad must be readable from any distance, angle, lighting, and in any weather condition. Your ad should have sturdy fonts with even spacing between them and enough space between the lines so it’s free of clutter. Also, people’s eyes move from the upper-left corner to the lower-right corner of an ad. So take this into account when designing your ad, including the juxtaposition of images and text. Consider the advertisement’s location as well. If it’s going to be far from traffic, use less text and bigger fonts, and if it’s going to be close to traffic, use more text and smaller fonts. If it is located on a slow-speed road and near secondary roads and an intersection, you can have a longer message than one located on a high-speed freeway.

5. Use relevant images - Images grab people’s attention, but if your business has got nothing to do with dogs, don’t put a picture of a dog on the ad. Also avoid adding a picture of yourself if it’s not relevant to your message. Use a large image that is unique, attention-grabbing, engaging, and thought-provoking. This will ensure that your ad gets read and has a long-lasting impact. It should also set the tone for your brand’s identity/voice and convey your message clearly.

6. Use bright colours appropriately - Big black letters on a yellow background will not guarantee that people look at your ad, and if these colours are not in line with your brand image, then it may be damaging to their perception of you. An ad created with a great design and strategy in mind is what will capture the audience’s attention.

7. Use bold, contrasting colours and images - Use background colours that contrast with the sky and other surroundings, like buildings and the backdrop. The text and images should also contrast with the background and with each other. A high contrast between the background and text can allow for smaller fonts, but a complex background can reduce readability so go for a simple background. White text on a black background allows large, short messages to be read at small and large sizes. A black-and-white image of a person with high contrast can elicit an emotional response from viewers. A colour scheme with the colours red, black and white is great for capturing attention. Other effective colour combinations are blue and yellow, and red and black.

8. Extend your billboard - Add extensions can make your ad stand out, eg. with billboards, so consider extending your board from 14ft x 48ft to 17ft x 48ft so that people are more likely to notice the ad. For example, adding an image that’s extended beyond the board will not only catch people’s eye, but they’ll be sure to remember it too.

9. Don’t use starbursts - They’ll make your ad look cheap. But if you still want to use a starburst, only put your most important message inside it, which is your main message.

10. Use only one point of contact - You can either choose a phone or fax number, a street address, directions to your location, an email, or a website. If someone wants to know more about your business, then they’ll find other ways to contact you.

11. Don’t add a call to action - Your whole ad is a call to action, e.g. to call you, drop by your office, buy your product or use your service. If your ad creates an emotional response from viewers, then it’s up to them what they’ll do next.

12. Don’t ignore your audience - You should know who your target audience is, and use the right tone and voice to ensure that your message reaches them. By narrowing your audience, you have a higher chance of increasing sales.

13. Don’t copy national or other successful ad campaigns - To create an effective ad and build your brand, the ad needs to be unique to your brand and not some rip-off. Your ad also needs to be innovative, creative and more humorous than others.

14. Bring it all together - Your street ad should help the audience identify what your message is and what your business offers. The layout and design elements should also form a coherent whole.

15. Break the rules - You can break the rules once you’ve mastered them, but only if you have a really strong concept. If your concept isn’t going to work without breaking one or more of the rules, then you just might have a winning ad. Remember, a short, simple and clutter-free ad with maximum visibility is more likely to be read and understood. With these handy tips, you can create an effective street advertising campaign that will make the audience come to you.

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