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The Great Outdoors: Out-of-Home Advertising
In this day of “liking” this and “sharing” that, “linking in” here and “checking in” there, it’s easy for some businesses to develop a case of tunnel vision that deprives them from capitalizing on of a form of persuasive communication that has been turning heads and changing bills for around 6,000 years now: Out-Of-Home-Advertising.
Ever since Egyptians slapped political polemics on papyrus posters, ever since Pompeian’s painted “colorful” menus on grotto walls, ever since image stood in for language in the darkest of our ages, billboards have been advertising’s oldest and most successful (at least in terms of longevity) medium.
Billboards. They are almost unavoidable. Most Americans drive. Most Americans obey traffic lights. And traffic parts for no man. While we scurry to and fro on this errand and that, billboards look down from above like the knowing eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg.
For the your advertising dollar, billboards stay up longer, have more of a chance of being seen by more people on more days, and make more impressions, and that leads to the most important thing in our business: spreading word-of-mouth.
Which brings us to our most successful outdoor campaign ever:
McMullen Funeral Home.
When the McMullen family came to us, they were a funeral operation in Columbus that was not particularly well known amongst the community. We conducted a poll to determine top-of-mind-awareness for our new client and found that they were buried toward the bottom. We returned to our whiteboard and set about making McMullen memorable.
It started with a headline:
“Think Outside The Box. Pre-plan Your Funeral”
We never thought they would go for it. A bit of gallows humor ran counter to every funeral home commercial we had ever seen, and the industry tends to be conservative as a whole. But, then again, what better way to differentiate your business from almost everyone else entirely. This was the headline that spawned a campaign that would last nearly 6 years and raise McMullen’s profile to that of one of the most prominent mortuaries in the city.
“Let Us Urn Your Business. Ask About One-Price Cremation.”
This one took a little more convincing on our part. And it’s not to say that there was never any backlash from certain segments of the community. Believe me, there was. But, did people talk? Yep. And the more people talked, the more business came through the McMullens’ doors? Yep. Because at the end of the day, all we did was craft a message that was sure to put them at the top of people’s minds, locate the billboards that would catch the most people’s attention, and crunch the numbers as they came in month after month. None of that would have meant squat if the McMullens didn’t run the best family-owned funeral home in town (plus they are just genuinely good folks and we’re proud to count them among our clients and friends).
We have since changed tack on the McMullen outdoor campaign. What do you guys think of the new direction? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know!
~ Team Naartjie