That got your attention, didn’t it?
But why did it grab you?
- Because the message is short and to-the-point. Easy to comprehend.
- Because the message shocked you, at least a little. If you know of someone who died in an accident caused by texting while driving, it’s possibly even offensive.
- Because the message is antithetical to everything you’ve ever read or heard about texting and driving. Without the word “Don’t” at the beginning, it’s an invitation to risk sudden death. Not what you’d expect.
And that, of course, is the whole point. Until you come to the realization (as you must) that the real message just the opposite of the obvious one. You can’t help but be deeply impressed by it, with no effort on your part required.
Most billboard advertising that I see in my market 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. Even those who notice them can’t read them.
But this billboard? Just three words in large type, surrounded by white space. It’s meant to be noticed.
And its message is deliberately easy to read and comprehend in its entirety: 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 begs for further investigation. 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. And for the next minute or two, you engage with them, giving them one more opportunity to drive their message home and give you something to think about. As I said, deeply impressed.
Here’s the companion video for this exceptional ad campaign, created by Canadian ad agency John St. and outdoor ad placement company Cieslok Media.
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.