Billboards Gone Wrong.

Jessica Brannen / June 25, 2014

Sheets in the pool. One beer boat parties. Dogs and Tito the lawyer?

Clearly, these eleven billboards messed up somewhere. But let’s be serious for a second. We laugh at these billboards, not because of any intended humor, but because of their irony. Each says something important, but its placement and context deflects the brand’s message. Instead of performing its marketing purpose, these billboards mock the brand.

So we can learn three things from these billboard gaffes.

First, location matters. No matter what medium you use—billboard, website, paper flyer, airplane streamer—where you market, affects what you say. Bradford probably didn’t anticipate Beans Creek Winery was ahead of his sign. But it was. And that ruined his message.

This leads us to our second take away, the message. Telling drivers to text after telling them “texting kills” contradicts your intended message. Know exactly what you’re saying, how you’re saying it, and what your message implies.

Lastly, humor matters. 56% of people talk about something funny they saw on a billboard. And where do they talk about it? Social media. The Internet. Blogs (like this one).If you can make a funny billboard, without undermining your business, you will stick in the public’s mind.

So take a sheet in the pool. Party on a boat with one beer. Verify your lawyer expertise with dog- trust. But whatever you do, market well.


An advertising graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Jessica Brannen brings a strategic and creative eye to managing social media and online presence for Kelsey's clients.

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