I just read a blog post about pizza that made me think about out-of-home media sales. In his post, Seth Godin says “Some of the legendary families that serve great pizza in New York aren’t in the customer service business. They’re in the great pizza business.” These great pizza-makers can be seen as inflexible, but they refuse to serve an inferior product just because that’s what a customer wants. That ugly disgusting pizza could become someone’s perception of their business.
Those of us in out-of-home sales have the same dilemma. It’s hard to tell our clients no. They’re paying for it, right? But once that poorly designed, irrelevant and ineffective billboard hits the streets, thousands of people will immediately perceive out-of-home as poorly designed, irrelevant and ineffective. Of course, we can’t just tell that potential client to hit the bricks. We have a duty as experts in our medium to educate our clients about the best practices of advertising and out-of-home specifically. Let’s say, “No, but let me tell you why.”
We shouldn’t be in the sales business. We should be in the kick-ass advertising business.
Ever notice how a condensed version of something isn’t quite as powerful as the full version? A trailer is no substitute for the full film. Cliff’s Notes don’t even come close to immersing yourself in a good book. A billboard created from a solid TV spot or decent print ad is usually completely ignorable.
When you’re creating an ad campaign in multiple media, try developing the outdoor first. Make it solid. Make it powerful. Make it the essence of what you’re trying to accomplish. Then expand upon that concept in other media.
Don’t treat your billboard like a giant business card. It’s boring. And it’s not advertising.
But, by all means, please treat your business card like a little billboard. It’s an opportunity to impress and persuade.