On the West Side Highway in Manhattan, there’s currently a billboard for some sort of placebo supplement. In the corner is a QR code for more information.
Unless the person in the passenger seat has a telephoto lens on their phone, there’s no way in the world that this is going to work.
My late friend Jay Levinson said that the most effective billboard would say, “FREE COFFEE, NEXT EXIT.” A call to action, relevant to the viewer, easy to see and understand.
Actual billboards are a whole category of media, but now we’re surrounded by a new kind, a smaller, more evanescent and common one: Social media posts. You might see a thousand of these a day.
Social media began as text updates from one human to another, but thanks to photo sharing, some of the posts have become something else entirely. A chance to create consistent, actionable and clear reminders of what you are and what you stand for.
But keeping Jay’s edict in mind, they work best when they’re about the viewer as much as they are about you. They work better when they can be seen and understood from a distance. And they work better when they “sound like you.”
Here’s an example of a few dozen digital billboards that my fellow volunteers created for the Almanac. These blew me away. Free coffee indeed.