Billboard Advertising and Readability – Size Does Matter

A couple of clicks down the road from where I live is a beautiful little restaurant and winery. They have fantastic product – great wine, good food and secluded surrounds that makes you feel you’ve left the modern world behind.

Given it’s located on a first road and off the beaten path, the owners don’t naturally have a lot of traffic passing their front gate.  They rely on sandwich boards, a form of billboard advertising, placed on the corners of the nearest main roads to notify passers by of their location. Those nearest main roads have speed limits of 90km/h and 100km/h.

Now, picture the last time you were traveling in a car at around 100 k’s an hour. How do you reckon you’d go trying to read a 60cm by 100cm sandwich board passing you 5 meters away. You’ve got Buckly’s of reading any more than a couple of words. The image above is of the actual sandwich board, but I have blurred it with Photoshop for dramatisation – in the interests of safety, I pulled the car over before taking this shot!

In the oposite direction to the winery, there’s an olive grove. They also have a lovely little cafe and sell local boutique products, however, the owners are a little more canny when it comes to billboard advertising.

The olive grove owners have a trailer they’ve turned into a mobile billboard. The billboard on the back of the trailer is about 10 times the size of a sandwich board, and so is the writing. Even at 100 km/hr you can read their messaging.

This is a good reminder to take a step back and look at your advertising “in-situe”. Wether it’s a sandwich board, your shop front window or a magazine ad, put yourself in you customers shoes; flick through that magazine with mild interest, walk past your shop window with a fleeting glance, drive past your sandwich board doing the speed limit. Is your messaging readable – let alone attention grabbing?


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