BUSINESS FOCUS:Outdoor Advertising

Billboard Advertising

shell billboard.jpg

I was doing my rounds around Karen Shopping Center when I came across this billboard. The design and location stood out from the rest and I could not help think of the processes and major decisions involved between the creative company and the client before the billboard was put up. I had done market intelligence on the major players who are in the billboard business, and they include Magnate Ventures, Alliance Media, Tangerine, Adopt-a-Light, Posterscope, Adsite, Thinking Outdoor, Wide Outreach and others.

Billboards are one of the ways used in outdoor advertising used to reach target audiences, especially those ones on the move. Much is involved to put up an effective ad on the billboard, considering the cost involved in putting up one. As the one paying for the ad for a specified period of time, you need to be very specific with your desired outcome for the effort. Strategically, a billboard has several advantages over other media, including:

  • maximum brand visibility on a 24 hour basis
  • maximum reach to large target audience
  • competitive costing give advertisers options and budgets they can work with, depending on the budget and marketing strategy plan
  • variety of options to choose from (single, double sided, different dimensions etc)

Strategic locations along busy highways, round about or major junctions provide ideal sites for billboards.

billboard .jpg

For the standard sized billboards 12*10m to 12*30m; they provide the best visibility and are most common and used in Kenya. As mentioned earlier, a lot goes into determining the type of artwork, location and period a billboard will take. As a client, you need:

  • The right reason to advertise outdoors; this will be especially for creating brand awareness and focusing on a successful marketing campaign
  • A budget to run the ad on the billboard for the desired period of time.
  • The right target audience whom the advert is to be focused on with a message that will appeal to them
  • Long term brand building strategy

The Creative Process


Advertising agencies play a critical role as consultants in assisting clients come up with the best ad messages and budgets for the billboards. The process is critical and need strategic planning and executing to be able to achieve the objectives. Essentially, corporates are ideal for such form of outdoor advertising, and flex their muscles to get things done. A set budget assist is the creative process, especially in:

  • Creating the artwork and copywriting
  • Printing high quality artwork for putting up on the billboard
  • Maintenance of the billboard, through the outdoor media firms that own them
  • Evaluation and advice on way forward.

Creating a compelling and strong visual impact

Billboards need to be very specific and focused to deliver visual message to a target audience. Targeting motorists who are on a busy highway require a simple bold ad with large words that capture the mobile audience for that one moment. A call to action for the target audience would certainly demand good and outstanding artwork to grab their attention. This is an art, and it is the reason the few corporates that afford it pay a huge sum of cash for it annually. Before the billboard is put up, a lot goes into market research, pitching, and several presentation of artwork before final approval. Experience and sharp minds, creative and also business oriented are thrown in the spanners. You only have to look at the Samsung and Coca Cola ads on the billboards to understand that this is a league of heavy hitters, looking for value for their money.


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