Advertising Outdoors – Is It Really A Breath Of Fresh Air For Advertising Buyers

Linda J. Dodson

When you think of Outdoor Advertising campaigns, billboards are probably the first outdoor style that comes to mind. Up to the late 1990s, the only Outdoor Adverts you saw was from alcohol and tobacco companies, along with the larger restaurant chains. Back then it was all about roadside ads on the main highways, but ten years later we can see many new formats and even more companies spending their money on this medium.

There is no doubt that this media format has moved on significantly in the last ten years. There are now dozens of sizes, shapes and formats in an endless number of locations, giving boundless opportunities for designing and displaying outdoor adverts.

Even though the very nature of Outdoor Advertising demands that the commercial message be brief and relatively simple, there is no doubt that it can consistently reinforce a message with crisp immediacy.

When Outdoor Ads are well designed, they will entertain and intrigue consumers with arresting impact. It seems that no other media vehicle is better at bringing more attention to your idea than outdoor advertising – this is probably the reason why revenues have doubled in the past decade.

However, an area of massive debate and mild conflict is that outdoor does have a few issues when it comes to pleasing the public, as well as local and national government organisations. Due to growing environmental concerns, many communities have reduced, limited or even eliminated the volume and placement of Outdoor media.

However, the ironic thing is that even though Outdoor Advertising will predominantly benefit the general business community, it is also the community service organisations that use it to shout about their direct public messages. Whichever side of the fence you sit on, there are always going to be varying opinions on the use of Outdoor Advertising in certain situations and locations. However, with the supply and demand at an all time high, it seems that it is here to stay.

One of the biggest growth areas is in Ambient Advertising. For example, Transport Advertising is one of the fastest-growing modes of Outdoor Advertising in the US and is expected to reach around $7 billion by 2010. This format is just starting to make an impact in the UK and Europe and there is nothing to suggest that it won’t be big business there too.

Mobile billboards are also one of the most effective tools for getting your name and message out to your target audience. You can now advertise on static or scrolling boards on trucks and vans, in retail parks, lampposts and on the side of buildings in the high street.

Costs for this format vary considerably. A small banner or sign on a local building or small piece of land can cost a few hundred pounds per month, whereas a larger advert can be a few thousand. Typically though, around $5000 or £10,000 will give you a one-month to six-week campaign to a huge audience – you could probably even get your advert designed and produced into the bargain. Therefore, Outdoor Advertising is certainly not a media just for rich consumer brand businesses. In fact, strategically placed advertising can guarantee a substantial exposure for very little investment.

If you have a great product to go with your short, sharp and catchy message, you should at least test the current climate by stepping outdoors.

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