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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Lekker not to read a billboard!

As you drive along the N1 North or N14 towards Pretoria, there is a huge 94.2 Jacaranda Radio billboard of their recent campaign 'lekker to be here' - termed LTBH.
Frankly, I don't think it's a lekker campaign; as I could not read the small copy they have on their billboard. As I tried to read the message, my attention was distracted and, of course, I was driving at the same time - so I was given a rude awakening by a fellow motorist who honked his horn, signalling that I should move it. I could not blame him.

How did that billboard even make it up there? The text is shockingly small, the message is lost in transit, the copy is long and you can't even complete reading the message as you pass. There are too many characters on the billboard and some letters seem as though they are pasted on and could fall off anytime. The font is not reader and 'freeway' friendly. I am not too sure what message they are trying to communicate. That's bad.

Where less is more, and big and bold is best

The last time I checked, a billboard had to have a word count of 8 or less, and the words should be big and bold. The principle behind this is that it should take you no more that 3-5 seconds to read the billboard as you drive past and so you get the message instantly. The advertising rules and regulations are there for a reason and should be adhered to.

It is waste of budget and creative effort to do such a campaign on billboard, unless this is the type of response that they wanted to solicit from their audience. Firstly, if a campaign has inter alia, a billboard as part of the media plan, you need to tailor the message for billboard to be simple, catchy, and memorable. One should get the message across within a few seconds - either a call to action, or to inform the audience. Campaigns like these should be thought of in a broader creative sense and context especially now that we have social media - or just limit it to print media. Unfortunately the message will get lost and defeat the purpose of the campaign if it cannot be read in its entirety and in a few seconds.

Billboards are for creating awareness or as a call to action to direct the audience to other mediums that will provide more information.

Short, sharp and snappy

Who or which agency did the campaign? Did a copywriter do that? Didn't they learn about 'alliteration', which comes in handy when you are a copywriter in advertising? Where did they study? Who suggested a billboard as a medium? Planner or buyer?

Maybe they should have employed the services of a sub-editor from a newspaper to do the copy for billboard in a 'headline format' for them - these subs (as they call them in the newsroom) certainly know how to nail those thought-provoking and eye-catching headlines in a way that it compels one to buy the newspaper to get the whole story. I am sure the copywriters could learn a thing or two.

I wouldn't be surprised if this billboard ends up as being a contributory factor in causing accidents on the road, as motorists while passing the billboard, try to read that long message, and end up being a hazard. I'm just saying!

For more:

  • Bizcommunity: A lekker response from Jacaranda FM.

About Bonnie Ramaila

Bonnie Ramaila is a seasoned communication and marketing expert and professional with over 20 years' experience in the communication, public relations, media liaison, advertising, branding, eventing, marketing, reputation management, business development and stakeholder relations and management in both the private and public sectors.
Nicolette Croucamp
Glad you didn't have a fender bender! I love the 'Lekker to be here' campaign line, it makes me feel good for all sorts of reasons. Don't know that the billboard needed more than that. Perhaps a giant wand of Tippex could make it more freeway friendly :)
Posted on 26 Jul 2012 14:48
Neil Pretorius
You have hit the nail on the head Bonnie. Impactful outdoor breaks through the clutter and creates talkability as well as drives viewers to a website where more information is available. A picture often speaks a thousand words anyway...
Posted on 26 Jul 2012 16:28
Andre Schild
(KSS) Kitchen Sink Syndrome - when advertisers and agencies place everything and the kitchen sink onto outdoor media
Posted on 26 Jul 2012 18:38
Andre Schild
(KSS) Kitchen Sink Syndrome - when advertisers and agencies place everything and the kitchen sink onto outdoor media
Posted on 26 Jul 2012 18:42
Christopher Jackson
What can I say? Some people know what they are doing and clearly some don't and pretend they do...There are two types of South African "Pro's", one is a "Pro"fessional and the other is a "Pro"beer.
Posted on 26 Jul 2012 18:58
Mike Kane-Smith
It would be a very sad day if our industry was to follow convention. Moving the goal posts, brands and the consumer is what we stand for. I hasten to suggest that a client whose agency was not prepared to challenge convention should be the one to consider a change. Doing something different and noticeable is what great client agency relationships strive for. Having a client take these leaps and face the consequences together is rare and in our case, cherished. It would be a cheap response to be grateful for being noticed and the publicity. As the agency, we stand by what is a terrific strategy and positioning for Jacaranda, one that is unfolding favourably in other more unconventional media. The opening execution of the outdoor campaign did not play-out to everyone's expectation. At the outset, we knew the concept was different and would stretch our client, the outdoor media owners, their production capabilities and the viewer, so to this end, we engaged with the outdoor companies for their expert opinion and with their backing, we confidently trod the unbeaten path. Unfortunately it was within a matter of hours of the first billboard going up, that what all felt would work, clearly was not. The executions have since been changed and over the coming months, will delight and move motorists meaningfully.
Posted on 27 Jul 2012 09:52
Tim Pinder
Very simply, a billboard is an ad coming at you at 60kms an hour. Any more than 7 or 8 words, and you are just wasting your money. No amount of justification will change that.
Posted on 31 Oct 2012 15:34