Kind of like the place kicker on a football team, outdoor advertising doesn’t get nearly enough credit. They’re on 24/7, have an extremely low CPM (cost per thousand) and, most importantly these days, they can’t get clicked through, turned off, fast forwarded, or deleted. Outdoor advertising is an important part of a successful advertising campaign.
Of the two outdoor billboard campaigns that have caught my attention lately, one is from out-of-home advertising giant Lamar Outdoor. I guess that means they’re good at what they do. Lately, Lamar has been using simple, solid, bright color billboards with phrases on them like “Use your Outdoor Voice” written in tall, white, block letters. Just the basics. But they get results.
Chick-Fil-A … Eat Mor Chikin!
The campaign that has caught my attention for some time since I moved to Memphis, TN in Summer 2007, has been from Chick-Fil-A. If you’ve passed through the Mid-South (or anywhere there’s a Chick-Fil-A) then you’ve undoubtedly seen a billboard like the one pictured to the left. They feature nothing more than a short, misspelled phrase, usually “Eat Mor Chikin”, and a couple of three-dimensional cows standing on the ledge which appear to me painting the signs. Simple, yet very effective. Maybe that’s why the campaign has been around since 1995!
Here are 5 reasons why Chick-Fil-A’s outdoor campaign has had some success. Apply them as you plan your next out-of-home campaign.
Clean and Simple – Just about every billboard in the campaign is solid white a short phrase in big, black letters. The Chick-Fil-A logo is also prominent in the center of the billboard. Viewers only have a few seconds to read and digest the meaning of your billboard. The rule of KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid.) applies here. Don’t try to get too creative.
Clever Theme -What’s more funny than two cows with poor grammar skills tell you to eat chicken instead of beef? The whole idea is to remind the viewer that there’s something out there besides the same meal at the same burger joint every day for lunch. Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s can’t beat it. I wouldn’t try the same theme for your business. Instead, figure out what’s at the core of your brand. Or, what’s at the core of what will get your brand to where you want it to be. Run with it.
Change of Pace – Chick-Fil-A’s billboard’s don’t say “Eat Mor Chikin” for long. They constantly change up the phrases. The cows are always changing too…during football season they wear helmets and jerseys. At Christmas, they might look like reindeer. Keeping the customer guessing makes the billboard’s more interactive. I always look for the billboard in my area to see what they’ve come up with next. That keeps Chick-Fil-A top of mind. The latest round of billboards feature bright yellow swipes of paint meant to look like the sunrise because Chick-Fil-A is pushing their new breakfast menu. The bright yellow is a change from the usual white and it sticks out from the norm in viewers brains. Don’t be afraid to switch things up on your own billboards. You may not have the budget for cow-zised football jerseys but you can always make a change every now and then. Don’t let your sign get stale.
Consistent Placement – The campaign has been running for 15 years! That’s pretty consistent if you ask me. Just as important as a consistent brand message is consistent location. As I said, I’m always looking for the Chick-Fil-A signs little changes because I know where to look. If I didn’t know the signs were going to be there, they wouldn’t be nearly as effective. Do some research, find a great location for your next outdoor campaign and start something big!
Call to Action – It’s fairly subtle. The goal in all of Chick-Fil-A’s advertising is to create consideration for chicken instead of the usual burger and fries when viewers are thinking food. By always saying “Hey, what about chicken?” they’re always top of mind. Always have a call to action in your outdoor advertising. Even if it is as simple as your website address. You’ve gained the viewers interest. Tell them what to do next!
Follow these simple steps and you should have some success with your outdoor advertising. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!
Photo Credit: http://www.jonathantoler.com/tag/chik-fil-a/
I follow a great business blog called Quick Sprout. Author Neil Patel regularly comes to the table with a fresh perspective on the world of business.
Today I read his post Business Advice in Three Words. It’s a great list of simple business advice and encouragement spelled out in three word phrases.
Since the whole point is to keep it simple, I’ll let you follow the link and see the list. (Business Advice in Three Words)
I’ve added a few of my own in the comments there as well as on this post. Share your three words of advice on Neil’s blog as well!
Love your job
Respect the competition
Write that down
Volunteer your time
Always give credit
Make hard decisions
Accept a challenge
Don’t over commit
Don’t under estimate
Control the controllables
Always be changing
Don’t get comfortable
Use Plan B
The worst year many of us have seen (particularly those of us in the Auto Industry) is history. While it is important to look at the outcomes of the year and find things to correct in the future, this time, it’s just as important to forget about 2009. It’s over. Don’t bring any of the negativity into January. Don’t bring it into 2010. Accomplishing goals only happens with a positive mindset. It’s getting better. Businesses in every industry are improving. Confidence in the economy is rising every day. Try a new approach in 2010. Set goals, push back and make them happen.
So, speaking of goals…what are yours? It’s a new year. Perfect time to clean the slate and set some. I like goals instead of resolutions. Instead of throwing out some random idea because everyone else is, goal setting is the framework to achieving and improving in a specific area of your life, career, business, etc.
I took some time in the past couple weeks to put together my a GoalBox for 2010 (Idea Courtesy of Chris Brogan – http://www.chrisbrogan.com/goals-project-1). It’s a simple Google Doc spreadsheet which lists my goals downward and each month of the year across the top. My GoalBox has career goals, personal development goals, fitness goals, charitable goals and a few others. Yours may be entirely different. As long as you keep them in front of you throughout the year and use the goals as a legitimate measurement tool, you’ll succeed. Don’t just make it a one time task and forget it. Live by it.
One of my personal development goals is actually this blog. Since I started it nearly a year ago, I haven’t been consistent with my posts. When I started my new job with Mazda in the spring, I kind of gave up on it and haven’t posted since June! This is officially the “relaunch”. My goal is to increase the number of posts I make each month. Once I’ve established consistency, I’ll decide where I want to go next. So, if you don’t see me posting for a while, get after me about it (@bencoy).
My philosophy for 2010 is to focus on the positives, be thankful and work hard at improving myself. Take the negativity head on. Bring it, 2010. I’m ready.
If you’re planning to accomplish or learn anything there are always six questions you have to ask yourself at the outset – “Who?”, “What?”, “When?”, “Where?”, “Why?” … and “How?” Despite what Nike says, you can’t “just do it” and get it right. You have to have goals and a vision to implement and get to where you want to be. The first five questions are easy…it’s “How?” that will get in your way. I heard this statement in a sermon at church the other day. I think it applies to pretty much everything in life:
“How?” is the question that kills visions and dreams.
“How?” produces fear instead of faith.
“How?” is the question that always produces excuses.
See, it’s easy to envision success, committment, goals, etc…your ultimate idea of what you want to do or where you want to be. The trouble comes when you ask yourself “How?” because that holds you accountable to stop planning and start implementing. It also allows you to convince yourself that something’s not possible or that you’re not quite good enough to pull it off.
You can’t ignore “How?” because then you’re just stuck with plans. You can’t concentrate too much on “How?” because then you’ll never take the necessary risks to make it reality.
You already know what you want to do, who can help you do it, where you’ll be able to do it, when you want to accomplish it and why it should happen. If you’re still wondering how you can possibly make it reality – Stop doubting and start doing. You already know the answer. Go make it happen.
I have some great news to share! Starting Monday, I will begin my new career with Mazda North American Operations (MNAO)! I accepted my offer on Wednesday afternoon to take over as District Manager for the Memphis District. The job is pretty much the same as I held with Ford except that I will be covering a larger geographic area (Memphis, Little Rock, Nashville, Jackson) but a smaller number of dealerships (11 vs. 14). I will report to the Gulf Regional Office in Houston, TX but we will be staying put here in Memphis!
Staying in Memphis and landing the job with Mazda is definitely a win-win for us. I was in talks with Mazda for the same job in a different district (Coastal Carolinas) back in October but the company realigned districts and eliminated the position. I was pretty excited about the opportunity back then but it wasn’t the best timing to move. Staying in Memphis allows Jackie to finish school here at the University of Memphis. For those who don’t know she’s working on her Master’s in Education and has another year left in the program. I think she was tired of going to class and being my sugar momma while I was unemployed so she’s probably more excited about me going back to work than I am.
I’m very excited about Mazda and the opportunities both for my career (MNAO has just 600 employees in the U.S.) and for the company. Mazda is lean and profitable. They have a great niche market and are continuing to to define the “emotion of motion”. There are plenty of great product releases at the moment with new Mazda6 and Mazda3 being the latest! There are great new refreshes to the CX-7 and CX-9 (Motor Trend SUV of the Year in ’08) crossovers coming soon as well. More news to fill your inboxes after I start.
Oh, and I just found out that our Region Meetings next week with have a sports theme – so needless to say, I will be rocking the Team Coy Detroit Tigers jersey on MLB day!
A BIG THANK YOU!
I wanted to take a second and say “Thanks!” to everyone for your support, help, job searching, words of wisdom, letters of recommendation and referrals, etc during my job search! It was a struggle, but I learned a lot and I think I will be a better person and better in my career because of it.
The biggest thanks goes to my wife, Jackie. Thanks for putting up with me and all the stresses that came with the unemployment and thanks for being supportive and pushing me everyday! You’re the best!
Thanks for all the input on the website – especially Doug Peterson. It was a huge help! Just wanted to let you all know that I will be moving the url (www.bencoy.com) to this blog soon. It will continue to be mostly business, marketing, automotive, motivational so that I can use it in my job. Feel free to subscribe and follow it if you’d like. The blog is currently at https://bencoy.wordpress.com.