But why did it grab you?
- Because it’s short and to-the-point.
- Because it’s the opposite of what you expect.
- Because it shocked you, if only a little.
And that, of course, is the whole point. Until you come to the realization that its intended message isn’t the obvious one. Either way, it makes an impression.
Most billboard advertising that I see in the Pullman-Moscow area is ineffectual, partly because so many billboards are too far away from the road for motorists (their primary audience) to notice them, and partly because they’re crammed with too many words, so that even those who notice them can’t read them.
But this billboard?
Just. Three. Words. Large type, surrounded by white space. It’s in your face and instantly comprehensible:
TEXT AND DRIVE
The only other item on the billboard is the name of the advertiser, Wathan Funeral Home. And that combination of message and advertiser provokes your curiosity. So when you arrive home or at the office (or maybe you just pull off the side of the road and whip out your smartphone), you Google “Wathan Funeral Home” and up pops their website, wathanfuneral.com. For the next minute or two, you engage with them, giving them yet another opportunity to drive their message home and give you something to think about.
It’s an exceptional ad campaign, created by Canadian ad agency John St. and outdoor ad placement company Cieslok Media. Here’s the companion video:
Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He became sales manager for the Pullman Radio Group in 1979 and served in that position until 2006. He continues to serve clients in the region as the stations’ senior account executive. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at PalousePics.com.