Silent Screamers

The Masters of Visual Hook Signage

Billboards are brilliant advertising tools – as long as you know what you’re doing with them. If you’re on a long drive, they break up the journey, they tell you you’re nearly home, give the kids something to look out for and laugh at and also perform their intended function, which is to advertise a business.

It has to be done right

There are loads of ways to get a billboard right and just as many ways to get it wrong. Let’s have a look at how some fortunate people have it right on the money.

An appeal with legs

Getting about in Florida usually involves driving and if you’re feeling hemmed in and cramped up, this sign may be just what you need to see. It works on two levels – it appeals to the visceral feeling of needing to get out and stretch those legs and it also reminds you of the delights Florida has to offer. It worked, too, with the Florida Welcome Centre getting a boost in numbers after a new billboard campaign.

Shine some light on the subject

The UK magazine the Economist (or its ad team) certainly had a bright idea back in 2005 when they came up with an interactive billboard. The advertisement featured a 3D lightbulb coming out so that the screw-in fitting was hanging over the pavement at just above head-height. When someone passed by, the lights suddenly came on. This showed how reading The Economist could provide people with a real lightbulb moment.

A place for everything

Great billboards aren’t too proud to bring in the outside world to help – they don’t just rely upon themselves. This OfficeMax billboard from 2009 shows drivers how they can get everything in order – even the birds of the air – with help from organisation expert Peter Walsh. It works because it’s a visual gag based on the flocks of birds that invariably choose the tops of billboards as perches and leaves drivers with the desire to get their own ducks in a row.