The Seven Rules of Creating Effective Outdoor Copy
Drivers often do not have the time nor are in the mood to internalise the subtleties and implications of a complicated outdoor message, no matter how clever it may be. Keep your copy simple and avoid too formalised structures, as they tend to further alienate you from the mass audience.
Keep it simple Capitalise on brand attributes Free yourself from call-to-action constraints Condense. Stick to the brand’s tone
Brand attributes consist of the specific concepts and characteristics that describe and define the qualities of your brand and distinguish it from its counterparts. Just like personality traits allow you to identify people, brand attributes will help the public identify your brand. If your message does not reflect the core values pertaining to your brand, then you need to scrap it out and start from zero. A call to action has always been a given in terms of OOH copy but the industry is gradually liberating from this rule. Think of it this way: your billboard, whatever the purpose behind it, is in itself a call to action as it will eventually generate some kind of response on the part of the recipient. So do not go around fussing about call-to-action matters when you should rather approach your message from a comprehensive perspective. Look at the big picture. Limit your message to a maximum of seven words for drivers to be able to read them on the move. In most cases, you don’t need more than that anyway.
July/august 2016 According to the OOH Brand Guidelines issued by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), a brand’s tone should be bold, confident, creative, powerful, trusted, contemporary and forward-looking. Think of these seven values as the founding pillars that should be reflected in your brand’s message.
Do not make it look like you’re trying too hard
Please, for Common Sense’s sake, avoid spoon-feeding the message to your audience (if you have to explain it, then it may not be as effective as you think!). Good copy bears no extra explanation.
Dare to be bold.
Once you’ve internalised the rules, you can go ahead and bend/break them however you want. And whether you choose to go by the book or rip off every single page, find that dash of personal spice that will make your copy stand out!