Dan Naden

Why create a billboard that can’t be read?

  • Would a teacher write on a whiteboard with letters that are too small for his children to read?
  • During a timeout, would a basketball coach map out his next play to his team in a whisper?
  • At a rock concert at a large arena, would the heavy metal band play with their amplifiers off?

These are examples of messages that don’t reach the recipient.

Every day across this nation, companies spend millions on highway billboards to reach consumers, yet fall woefully short.  There’s something stunningly amazing about the large blocks of text, graphics and color that line the major highways of America. When you’ve just a short period of time to influence, persuade, motivate, why do companies make it even more difficult than they should?

I am stunned. It seems as if every other billboard I see is unreadable.

The biggest problem: small, indecipherable text. Do companies realize that people are trying to drive while reading/viewing their billboards? They have a very short window of time to acknowledge, read and react to a billboard while they change lanes, flick on the turn signal, or change the radio station.

Dear companies:

When you invest in building a ‘can’t miss’ billboard, put yourself in the eyes of your target market.
Take a step back and envision your ‘creative message’ being viewed at 55 miles per hour from hundreds of feet away. Design text and blocks of color to be read in an instant. Don’t stress every single benefit about your product or service. Choose one and do it remarkably well.

It’s not all doom and gloom. There are a few companies that have it right. Notice the simplicity, directness, immediacy.

Here are just a few:

[slideshow]

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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