DIY Advertising. Would you cut your own hair?

DIY home improvement shows are awesome. I especially love the ones that feature some weekend-warrior attempt to build a dream bathroom, only to fi nd him or herself hip deep in a major mess. In business, DIY advertising is worse than a home reno fail. DIY advertising is more like a DIY haircut. It never looks good. It’s embarrassing. It will take a long time to fi x. And, your next trip to the salon will be expensive.

I’ve recently encountered several situations where advertisers were going to take a DIY approach. The most recent example involved a prospective client. After reviewing at least three ad agencies, and having worked with two others in the past, this advertiser informed us that they were taking everything in house. They are actually going to invest in creative staff, design software, new computers, media buyers, media planners, media software, ratings data and market research.The cost will be relatively astronomical. In a real way, this advertiser is starting a new business that is unrelated to its core competency. Investing in new staff, new software, new equipment, etc. could add up to tens of thousands of dollars a year (or more)! And there won’t be any return!

If someone were to propose giving themselves a new haircut, I’d yell “NO!” So, if given the chance, I propose these three questions to people considering a DIY approach to advertising.

Can you afford the learning curve?

Why make the investment?

Don’t you deserve better?

You want someone who knows what they are doing to cut your hair. So why not a professional ad agency?

By M. Gillespie


Got Milk?

How many words should be on a billboard?  I was driving on the highway the other day and almost read a book on a billboard.  Is this recommended for an advertising medium that is read at 60 mph?

Here’s what Paul Suggett has to say:

Billboards surround us. We probably see hundreds of billboard ads every single week, but remember just a handful. With outdoor advertising upping the stakes and becoming increasingly more competitive, it’s important to know how to make your advertising count. Here are six strategies to ensure your billboard has the highest chance of being noticed, and more importantly, remembered.

1: For Billboards, Six Words or Less is Ideal.

Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard. So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.

2: Get Noticed, But Don’t Make Your Billboards a Huge Distraction.

Most of the time, billboards are aimed at drivers, bikers, cyclists or pedestrians (which is why you have just a few seconds to get a message across). This causes an interesting dilemma for the advertiser; you want to get noticed, but you don’t want to be responsible for major, or even minor, accidents.

3: This is Not the Time for Direct Response.

I’ve seen billboards covered in phone numbers and website addresses, knowing without a doubt that 99.9% of the people who actually read the billboard would not have called or logged on. A billboard is a secondary advertising medium, which means that it’s ideal for brand-building and supporting a campaign, but it just cannot do the heavy lifting. If you want a more intimate conversation with your target audience, use print advertising, television, radio, flyers, websites and direct mail. But billboards, they are the wrong medium for anything other than a quick message. However, if your website or phone number IS the headline, and makes sense, then you have an out.

4: Billboards Should Be Smart, But Not Too Clever.

A boring billboard will be ignored. A smart billboard will grab the attention and leave a lasting impression. A billboard that’s trying to be too clever, well, it will get lost on the audience.

5: The More Billboards, The Better.

One billboard is not cheap. But it’s also not very effective either. Billboards are a mass market medium, but they need support. So, you want more than one, and you want as many eyes on them as possible.

6: Don’t Say It, Show It.

Get creative with your billboard ideas. A flat billboard is the standard, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. You can go 3D, have moving parts, have people interacting with it and even have your billboard animate.