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A Shout Out to Billboard Advertising
By: Aaron Whitaker
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It seems in today’s world, the buzz in advertising and marketing and life seems to be about digital. Everyone wants to advertise and market on the Web. Businesses want a blog and a Facebook page and they want to tweet to their customers. And while those are all viable and important channels to consider when marketing your business, we need not forgot about the dinosaurs of the advertising business: billboard advertisement, or more specifically, outdoor advertising.
I’ve always been a fan of billboard advertisements. I can’t help but look at and read every billboard that I pass when I’m driving. I can remember as a child driving down I95 in North Carolina towards the South Carolina border and seeing all the creative ‘South of the Border’ billboards. ‘South of the Border’ was and perhaps still is a glorified tourist trap that sells thousands of cheap crap that your kids will beg their parents for and forget about in an hour after they lose interest or it breaks. While the destination itself wasn’t that impressive, the billboards always were. Most of them were 3D objects like a sombrero or a cactus or some other stereotypical Mexican subject. Now that I think about some of the billboards, they wouldn’t be particularly politically correct in today’s world but as a child, it wasn’t really the message but the grandness of these 3D billboards.
The other billboards I always enjoyed as a child were the billboards driving through Florida on our way to our annual Spring Break vacation in St. Pete. There were billboards for amusement parks like Disney World, Busch Gardens, Cypress Gardens and Weeki Wachee. There were Ron Jon Surf Shop billboards, which usually featured a surf board. And there were lots of billboards with alligators and/or oranges on them. Based on the billboards, Florida was much cooler than the states that I grew up in.
While the billboards I mention above were all seen while I was traveling with my family on vacations as a child and today as a father, I do think billboards even during our daily commutes to work are powerful and become etched into our brains. The billboards I pass every day while driving to work or taking the kids to the zoo or going to the grocery to pick up milk are powerful ways of advertising. I can’t avoid looking at them as they are usually in my line of sight. It’s one of the few remaining marketing channels that is hard not to avoid. With TV or radio, we can change the channel. With magazine and newspaper ads, we can flip the page. With email marketing, we can delete. And with social media marketing, we can choose not to visit the business pages or read the tweets or posts. But with billboard advertising and outdoor advertising in general, we can’t help but see and usually read the message.  
While billboard and outdoor advertising is almost as old as the dinosaurs, it’s definitely not extinct. And one could argue that it’s probably one of the most effective ways to advertise for certain types of businesses.  

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About the Author
Aaron Whitaker is a copywriter, blogger, and social media aficionado who likes watching the TV commercials more than the actual shows. He prefers reading the magazine ads over the articles. And you can learn more about him online right here.
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