Three Billboards Outside Atmore, Alabama by Michael Perhaes
Brand Management and Advertising Professional on Billboard Advertising
As an aficionado of good billboards, I took note recently of a better-than-average out-of-home campaign that Coca Cola is running nationally. These billboards feature nothing more than a singular lifestyle image- a youthful couple laughing while clutching Coke- and a logo. The photograph is tinted, creating a vague, nostalgic vibe, and an ode to the simpler life, perhaps. And that’s it. Outdoor advertising at its purest. Not many brands can pull this off. But these billboards succeed because of the immense equity built into the Coke brand, one that will always rank among the most recognizable in the world. To paraphrase John Lennon, Coke is bigger than Jesus. The boards are powerful in their simplicity and purity of message but they work because of the strength of the Coke brand. In an unforgiving medium that requires a strong singular image coupled to the fewest words possible to be effective, this is as good as it gets. I decided to steal this concept and make it our own.
In an unforgiving medium that requires a strong singular image coupled to the fewest words possible to be effective,
But can this approach translate to lifestyle and entertainment brands? In Alabama, our brand is firmly established in the state, and our logo is recognizable to nearly everyone in the region. Our advertising runs primarily in five local markets, and in each of these cities we benefit from high recall rates of our brand and our tagline, “Find Your Winning Moment.” With the Coke campaign as our inspiration, we challenged our agency to create photography that delivered on our brand promise, leveraging its equity to tell our story. We needed a series of strong lifestyle shots that conveyed our resort experience- imagery that could hold up on its own, requiring as few accompanying words as possible. Our agency, Mobile-based Red Square, hired the Coke photographer, and our in-house creative team conjured up simple, accompanying headlines.
The casino industry relies heavily on its events to drive visitor traffic; well-known entertainers and casino promotions dominate the advertising on the interstates. If you survey the billboard landscape it’s difficult to differentiate one casino brand from the next amongst these tactical messages. The billboards invariably become cluttered with dates no one will remember. And if we were to be completely honest here, is the experience really that different from one casino to the next? Not significantly. But if we could invent desire by artistically conveying our experience through great photography, fusing those images with our logo and tagline, perhaps we can break free from the pack. We challenged ourselves to create a campaign that relies heavily on the strength of our brand promise, conveying nothing more than the great experiences we offer our customers. We begin the new year with this campaign, and I look forward to the response.
We challenged ourselves to create a campaign that relies heavily on the strength of our brand promise, conveying nothing more than the great experiences we offer our customers.