There are numerous elements that must come together in order to gain positive ROI from each advertising campaign. The chosen media mix is one of the most important aspects of reaching your target audience successfully. Once you have come up with an appropriate mix of out-of-home and non-traditional media, it is imperative that your message be effective. Without successful creative, your dollars are wasted.
One of the most important factors in creating powerful content is taking into consideration where the media you selected is placed and how that can affect your message. Where is it located? Is it inside? Outdoors? Is it seen in the air or on the ground? From how far away is the media visible? How long does the consumer have to read and comprehend your message? These factors will help to determine what font should be used, how large the text needs to be, how many words can be included, and what colors will maximize impact.
For example, if your media mix is derived of digital billboards, static eco-posters, street decals, mall kiosks, and gas station pump advertising, you will need to alter your creative to suit each media environment.
Digital billboards are large, illuminated structures placed in areas with high vehicular traffic seen predominantly by consumers while driving. The message needs to be large, legible and it must stand out. One aspect of digital units that can be overlooked is the background color. Since digital billboards rotate copy, it is important for your ad to be unique. White backgrounds are generally shied away from. Why? If multiple advertisers use a white background, their messages get lost within one another and neither ad stands out. The sharp contrast of back to back creative is what gives digital ads such impact and the oh-so-coveted “wow” factor. In fact, the best way to get noticed on a digital structure is to change your creative. Even if you merely rotate background colors, consumers notice change and since digital production is virtually free, there is no reason not to take full advantage of copy changes. (The technical reason for no white background: LED technology doesn’t allow for a clear white to appear on digital screens. When you use a pure white background on digital billboards your creative will often have a dull look and will not be viewable from every angle.)
Static eco-posters, like digital bulletins and digital posters, are also seen at higher speeds than pedestrian travel. The creative on single-sheet posters needs to be large and clear. Fonts that are bold and lucid work best. Images need to be large enough so they are visible to on-coming traffic. By using a stark contrast between background and font, you can ensure your message is legible to your target audience during their approach.
Street decals are an in-your-face media that has mere seconds to grab the attention of those who walk by, but when it does, it is absolutely effective. It’s hard to miss a media that you have to step on or over. Decals should be free of clutter with a clear message. Great for branding and promotional campaigns, street clings need to be created with the ground in mind. Are you placing the decals on concrete, asphalt or brick? Each material can alter visibility of your creative so you need to be sure you are using fonts and colors that will work with the environment.
Mall kiosks are placed in high traffic areas of shopping centers. These displays are generally lit from the back for maximum visibility. Creative that utilizes contrast work best when combining the indoor lighting of the mall along with the backlighting of the advertising display. You can generally place more content on mall ads than digital billboards, static posters and street decals, but you still want to ensure that your message isn’t cluttered. You have seconds to grab the attention of busy shoppers, make those seconds count by getting to the point and engaging their interest.
Gas station pump advertising lends itself to a lengthier message than other media due to increased consumer dwell time. Pumping gas isn’t the most interesting task, making it easier to connect with your audience. Placed above the pump, you have the ability to expand your message in ways other media wouldn’t allow. You still need to be clear and engaging, but you have more leniencies since consumers are at the mercy of the pump.
Top 10 Creative Tips
Regardless of the media you are utilizing for your campaign, remember these tips:
- Use stark contrast to increase visibility.
- Clear fonts aid in easy comprehension and an unmistakable message.
- Grammar and spelling mistakes cannot happen. Be diligent.
- Maximize approach time with large font that can be seen from an appropriate distance.
- Avoid looking like the other guy. Do your research on the competition (or at the very least, anyone you’ll be sharing space with).
- Pay attention to your environment and lighting, you want to make sure your message can be seen.
- Triple check artwork and material specs before you start production. Mistakes will cost you.
- Avoid busy creative. Extensive information will result in clutter. Your message will be lost and your efforts rendered useless.
- Don’t forget a clear call to action. Make sure the consumer knows exactly what to do once they’ve seen your message.
- When in doubt, ask an expert. If you have creative or production questions, ask us- we’re happy to help!
Ashley Shipley, Director of Social Media Marketing, a Starbucks addict with a low tolerance for Christmas Carols.