Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Billboards and marketing design.....

My husband and I make several road trips a year. We often see billboards that give you no clue as to what they are selling because they are so busy with an overloaded message. When I saw this photo above I about fell off the chair laughing as it leaves no doubt about the message though simply stated. A perfect example of good marketing no matter how you feel about George W. Bush. Simple, to the point, and not cluttered with too many graphics or text for people to try and read as they drive by. It gets your attention and makes you laugh or get angry depending on whether you are still waiting for the whole "hopey changey" thing to happen.
When I worked for an endodontist in Alaska we spent many hours peering into patients mouths so we would pass the time in one of two ways. We had a code system set up with fake names for office personnel that we were discussing. Little Napoleon was the son in law, Goldilocks was the receptionist in the Anchorage office, there was momma bear and poppa bear, Tinkerbell and so on. The other way we passed the time was to listen to the radio. Our favorite part of that was the commercials. We would talk about the voice over talent or no talent depending on the ad, the copy and so on. We would try to see if we could come up with better ideas as well. I love commercials TV or radio as they can be so creative. Marketing and advertising have a lot of ins and outs that business owners don't think about and are usually not told when being sold an ad campaign. Tips like never give a laundry list of what you sell. Pick out the "hook" item or service that will bring people to your business. Never start an ad with a question. For instance, " Are you tired.... of being sick and tired, being ripped off, being overweight and so the list goes. Most ads that start with a question are quickly silenced as the listener moves to the next station or mutes the radio until the 4-5 minute commercial break is over. Unfortunately most folks haven't figured out that most stations are all on the same schedule. A clever ad is fun or enjoyable to listen to, and will remind you that you haven't tried this or that yet, or wow that sounds great! The purpose of radio ads are to remind folks of what they either need or want and where to find it. It's called controlled word of mouth. One of the most satisfying work experiences I had was in creating an ad campaign for a flooring store that not only helped them grow, but gave them confidence that advertising does work when done correctly, and helps them grow some more. I really miss working in radio, the reporting, voice over work, copy writing and sales, all of it!
I got to thinking about this as I worked with a fellow artist to re-do her blog. She wanted a fresh look, new banner and set up. We had fun perusing images and so on and I had fun trying out new things with photoshop. As I was putting her banner together I was struggling with the placement of text and so on. It didn't come together until I changed one simple thing.... the message. Here's what I mean. We went from this

to this
Of course I've come a long way since I created her first banner two years ago. The message is simple, elegant, the text flows and the design fits her personality so well. If you get a chance stop by and see what her blog looks like now at  Seasonal Whimsies . I would love your feedback!

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