Drive-by marketing

Connecting with consumers stuck in cars
Although unfortunate for me and my fellow columnists and advertisers loyal to print publications, many of the consumers do not read as much as they do any number of other things. In fact, a significant number of the people that reside within our coverage region spend more time commuting than reading magazines or newspapers– or even blogs.

The commuting culture is comprised of carpooling people who spend a meaningful amount of time scanning the horizon on their way to work and again, on their way home. Their eyes– hungry for words– are checking out other cars, buses, trains and trucks and what’s written on them. As an advertiser you have a captive audience in an army of commuters who may work away from your offering but park their cars and their purchasing power right in the market you’re targeting.

Outdoor AdvertisingOutdoor advertising should be a realistic vehicle in your marketing campaign. Posters and billboards remain an important, effective and surprisingly economical means of reaching your different publics.

And it’s not just billboards… consider other outdoor advertising opportunities available like, “ad shells” on bus shelters. Transit advertising on the sides of buses, vans and the atop taxis is becoming more prevalent with sprawl and alternative campaigns like large inflatables can make outdoor work well for your company.

And, these commuters, when not listening to books on disc or their favorite podcast, they’re also scanning the radio dial. Broadcast radio is another economical, albeit less targeted resource for touching this captive audience.

“Messages posted in public areas can give a branding campaign real impact, real retention and real results,” says Wendy Rauchen, Senior Account Manager for Lamar Advertising.

Keys to effective billboards, bulletins and shelter poster campaigns include a single striking visual with minimal copy. They should be built upon a strong creative concept that communicates your message quickly, attracts attention, is easy to remember and can be comprehended at a distance while moving. It’s a completely different set of criteria than most of the other advertising in your standards but executing poorly can have adverse effects.

Often a dominant headline can act as a brand signal where short, compelling phrasing becomes part of your company’s image, your product, and your service. And, to blast that message to the greatest number of car-bound bodies outdoor advertising is often cyclical, rotating between a number of different positions in the region from month to month.

Although your outdoor campaign should be integrated into your marketing plan, billboards, and their larger cousins, bulletins, perform best if you’ll consider the following guidelines when you decide to make the region’s outdoor opportunities work for you:

GRAPHICS– Image should be compelling and attractive from a distance.

COLOR– Use bold, bright, high-contrast hues for your outdoor campaign.

The subject should be clear and distinct from background.

Clean, simple and easily read by people on the move.

Other factors can enter into the design of your outdoor campaign depending upon where your ad is posted. Some boards employ lights and unique shapes while newer bulletins feature advanced technology including rotating messages, video and digital messaging.

Many national firms take advantage of the Philadelphia region’s outdoor advertising opportunities. Your company can connect with consumers in cars too and pull off a drive-by all for less than you might have thought so no one gets hurt.