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Outdoor advertising. Where do I begin?

How to get your business on billboards, bus shelters and more!

All billboard companies will accept a booking if you call them direct. In fact, they’ll even get the artwork done for you if you need help with that too. If you spot the billboard you want to advertise on, look in the corner for the media company’s logo and make contact with them. I’m sure they’ll give you good advice whether this site is best suited to your business objectives.

At next Thursday, we love outdoor. It’s actually a challenging format to nail, so here’s a few tips:

  1. With your creative, aim for a maximum of 7 elements, e.g. your logo is one element, your headline is another, etc. The wise old adage is, “less is more in outdoor”. Remember this, people will google your business (once they stop driving of course) rather than grabbing a pen and writing down your phone number, so there’s one thing you can leave off the artwork. Oh, they won’t scan your QR code either! Unless you’re a real estate agent, or selling tins of baby milk powder you, can forget about putting these in your ad. What they will love is a clever headline, quality design and a clever idea that demonstrates you respect and understand their world.
  2. A good legibility test before you approve the artwork is print out an A4 proof and stick it on your wall. If you can’t read it three metres away from the wall, drivers approaching the sign won’t be able to unless they’re 30 metres away, which is not good enough.
  3. As far as size goes, in general 6x3m billboards are the hard-working billboards that reach homes deep into the suburbs, the bigger billboards on the main routes inbound and outbound of the city increase in size to supersites approx. 12 x 3m, then you have the big bad boys called spectaculars which certainly get noticed, the media fees scale up as you can imagine.
  4. Media fees change during the year as demand changes. So, keep this in mind when planning a booking in the busy Christmas period, the fees will be higher, and you’ll have to book it a long way out from installation to secure the site.
  5. Mostly all sites outside of the cities are printed skins held onto the billboard frames by ropes. You’ll be charged for the printing and installation costs which is a trap for young players when budgeting to appear on multiple sites. One good thing with this is you get to keep the skins, meaning you can move them around to other billboards so long as they’re the same size. Digital billboards on the other hand don’t have any printing costs of course, so these save you money. However, the bit that sucks is you have to share the billboard with 6 other advertisers. Your billboard will be on screen for only 10 seconds…all the more reason to keep your message simple!
  6. One cool thing with Digital billboards is their ability to change your message to suit the time of day, e.g. you could tailor your message to tradies at the break of dawn, mum & dads at school drop off times and socialites from dinner till late. It’s a bit of extra effort, and it’s slightly more for the artwork, but one things for sure, your audience will applaud you for being creative.
  7. Another big difference with digital billboards is the media companies charge per weekly booking, vs printed ‘static’ billboards are up for what they call a lunar cycle – it’s close to a month, but not quite. Both styles can work to your advantage depending on if you want a quick in and out message burst or you’re wanting to be up longer.

If you need help with your creative, feel free to contact me at next Thursday.


Dan Adler, Managing Director - next Thursday

Dan is the Owner and Managing Director of Next Thursday, a boutique brand creative agency based in Brisbane. As both a Marketing Guru and a small business owner, Dan is your expert in all things promotions, advertising and communications - no matter whether you're in the start-up stage or have been operating for years. When he's not in the boardroom, he's in the "Green Room" - Dan is an avid surfer!