Serial Billboards

On a typical highway between cities, a billboard may not change much.  It assumes a one-time audience, so it has to communicate all of the pertinent information at once.

On a typical highway around Houston (or any major city), a billboard can work differently.  These highways often have repeat audiences, with the same people driving past the same billboards at the same time every day.  I’ve recently noticed two billboard campaigns that are taking advantage of the same concept as a serial story or a cliffhanger episode on a television show.  I find this very intriguing.

The first set of billboards started out white with black letters.  They said things like “Smart people…” and “Busy people…” and that was it.  No follow-up, just black letters on a white billboard.  Very curious.  About two weeks later I saw one of them again.  This time it said “Smart people listen,” along with the call number for a local radio station.  My interest was piqued, so I paid attention.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed the finished billboard if it hadn’t started out so intriguingly.

The other billboard that’s working on a series has a longer commitment.  A local hospital (of which we have many) is opening a new maternity ward.  About a month ago the first billboards went up, with several different women.  Each was wearing a body-hugging top, and all you saw was her torso with a hand on her belly.  (I’m sure you can see where this is going.)  Last night I noticed one of these billboards, and the woman’s tummy has grown.  The hospital is planning to start delivering babies in the spring – I’m guessing when they’re ready to open the women on the billboards will all have big tummies.  They may even carry it through all the way and have them holding their babies!

It’s nice to see that print ads can carry a storyline just as well as a novel or a television show.  It definitely makes a commute in rush hour traffic a little more interesting.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deshipley
    Dec 04, 2011 @ 21:43:01

    Nifty notion! Would perhaps be lost on me, as I’m not as observant of my surroundings as might be best, but for those who are, I guess it makes the same old commute that much less…same old. (:


  2. Trackback: Babies on Billboards « Butterflies and Dragons

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