The Creative Power of Billboards in a Crowded Digital Market

Billboards traditional marketing vs. digital marketing

We live in a digital world. As a society, we are glued to our phones. Sending reels on Instagram to friends all day long is basically our new love language. 

But for all the good of digital marketing, it has its challenges. For one, online advertising is saturated. When digital marketing first emerged, as consumers we paid more attention. But now we’ve adjusted to the vast amount of digital advertising and so has our way of digesting content. I barely pay any attention to ads on social media unless they are really clever or funny, or the product actually appeals to me as a buyer. 

In this landscape, consumers’ attention span is shorter than ever. And so our marketing tactics need to be smarter and more engaging to pique their interest. As a creative communications agency, building brand awareness and engaging with the target audience is our speciality. And one of the ways we break the company-consumer barrier is, believe it or not, through billboards. 

The Unique Advantages of Billboards Today

  • High visibility and reach: Billboards offer unparalleled visibility due to their strategic physical placement in high-traffic areas. Large size and creative designs make billboards hard to ignore, ensuring broad audience reach.
  • Capturing attention in a crowded digital landscape: As I mentioned earlier, consumers have developed “banner blindness” and scroll past digital content. Billboards cut through the digital noise, offering a refreshing and impactful way to communicate messages with less risk of being overlooked. 
  • Geographic targeting and local relevance: Billboards enable precise geographic targeting, allowing businesses to tailor messages to specific locations. They also foster community engagement and local awareness with the target audience in a specific region.
  • Building brand awareness and recall: Repetitive exposure and compelling visuals help embed the brand in the memory of the audience, which makes billboards effective for long-term brand recognition. Even subconsciously, people will remember your logo or branding from driving past it on the freeway. 
  • License to get creative: And my personal favorite as a Creative Director… you can get creative with billboards! The whole goal is to capture people’s attention and generate interest. Billboards provide marketers with a larger-than-life canvas to unleash bold and innovative designs, clever use of visuals, and unique storytelling that can leave a lasting impression on viewers.

Integrating Billboards with Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Here at Tuuti, we are big advocates for integrated marketing campaigns. Traditional media isn’t dead, but digital marketing is vital to a successful company too! These two actually go hand-in-hand in our strategies as an agency, and we recommend a mix of digital and traditional marketing to our clients. 

Why? Well, simply because digital marketing and traditional marketing compliment each other. They also can reach entirely different audiences. As we mentioned before, traditional marketing and billboards in particular are great for building local brand awareness. Meanwhile, digital marketing can support your efforts and cast a wider net. 

Picture courtesy of Elliott Brown

Example of an Integrated Marketing Campaign in Action: “Share a Coke”

Many companies use billboards and influencer marketing in tandem. You can create a fun billboard campaign that generates interest and drives back to social media efforts, and then also work with influencers to get the word out about your campaign. One company who executed this to perfection was Coca-Cola with the “Share a Coke” campaign. 

The “Share a Coke” campaign placed billboards with personalized messages on them, featuring first names like “Share a Coke with Chris.” It went as far as giving you a number to text to get your name on the digital billboard. Some of their billboards shared fun facts about names, like “Laurens sure steal the limelight. They’ve starred in 723 movies since 1936.”

First off, this campaign idea was ingenious. It was interactive and fun — who wouldn’t want their name up on a Coke bottle in Time Square? Billboards were strategically located in high-traffic areas like busy city centers, malls, and transportation hubs. After all, the more eyes on it, the better! From a customer engagement and brand awareness standpoint, it was a grand slam. 

The billboards encouraged consumers to find and purchase Coca-Cola bottles with their own names or the names of friends and share the experience on social media using the hashtag #ShareACoke. This is also where Coca-Cola collaborated with influencers, both macro and micro, to create content around the personalized Coke bottles. Influencers shared photos and videos on their social media platforms, showcasing themselves enjoying a Coke with their name on it or gifting personalized bottles to friends and followers. 

The “Share a Coke” campaign generated widespread awareness, sparking curiosity and interest among consumers. The hashtag #ShareACoke trended on social media, creating a sense of community engagement and encouraging consumers to participate in the campaign. By successfully integrating digital and traditional marketing strategies, the campaign became a global phenomenon. It just goes to show how traditional and modern marketing both make an impact today!

How Do You Show ROI for Billboards?

You would be surprised what data you can see for billboards! When we work with our local reps, they send us monthly reports on our billboards we are monitoring for clients or ourselves. These reports include specific data on traffic and how many sessions per billboard per month.

But remember, traditional media and billboards are about indirect revenue. If you get caught up on numbers and ROI, you will never see the value of billboards. But when you take a step back and look at the whole picture, and the increase in brand awareness, it’s more than worth it!

One great example of this is a billboard campaign we worked on called “Yay! I Pooped Today” for a detox supplement company local to Boise, Idaho. It was a polarizing campaign during the Covid pandemic where people needed a laugh more than anything. And let me tell you, it definitely worked! Even after a few bad reviews, like this article from the Idaho Statesman, people defended us and the campaign in the comments. It just goes to show how a fun, creative campaign can bring in the local community. 

The “Yay! I Pooped Today” billboard campaign received $3.2 million in free advertising and generated over $723,000 revenue tied back to the campaign. But we also received priceless brand recognition in the area with over 812,500 hits on our campaign landing page. We went from zero recognition locally to people putting “Yay! I Pooped Today” branded stickers on their cars. The campaign put us on the map, and indirectly did so much for the brand’s explosive growth. A few years later, the company sold for $200 million dollars, and we fully believe this campaign played a key role in kickstarting that success. 

What Worked For Us: Our Billboard Campaigns

Tuuti Launch Billboard

Here’s our first billboard around the time we launched publicly as a business. The goal was to increase awareness, especially locally as a new creative communications agency in Boise, Idaho. We coordinated this campaign with our launch party, social media, content marketing, and basically all our other organic efforts as a new business. 

I designed the billboard and kept it simple because our message was simple: we’re here, we’re women-owned, and we’re excited to get started. For our brand, we wanted the five women owners to be the faces of the brand, so putting us on a billboard was an easy way to do that. 

And it definitely worked! We were the talk of the town, and received several walk-ins and referrals from the billboard alone. Depending on your market, doing something as bold as putting your face on a billboard can capture people’s attention. 

Of course, sometimes simplicity isn’t the best play. Being creative is how you can get real attention and interest. Which brings us to our next billboard…

“Tuuti Can Do It” Billboard 

October is Women in Small Business Month. And as a women-owned small business, we wanted to celebrate in style. So what better way than a billboard? And from this sparked the “Tuuti Can Do It” campaign. It paid tribute to the iconic “We Can Do It” poster featuring Rosie the Riveter. 

Alongside the billboard, we highlighted a variety of small women-owned businesses throughout the Boise area on social media. At the end of the month, we also hosted a social media giveaway incorporating these small women-owned businesses to give them awareness while also building our own social following. 

This was a more creative campaign that not only recognized women in business, but also helped our efforts for brand awareness. The incredible response we’ve received from our billboards reinforces our belief that there’s lasting magic in traditional media. And we can’t wait for our next billboard campaign! 

Interested in traditional media? We’d love to chat about billboards or other media campaigns. Contact us to find out more. 

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About Us

Tuuti is a female-owned creative communications agency that specializes in boosting brand awareness, nurturing reputations, and strengthening connections between companies and their audiences. Some of the services we provide include content marketing, creative design, social media, and public relations. We’re here for awesome brands like yours, and are passionate about delivering unparalleled customer experience and killer content you can count on, always.