Sunday, January 24, 2016

No Stomach for Billboards

Billboards, as I've said several times before, can only have a limited number of words and shouldn't rely on an unclear concept. There's no time for drivers to read much or figure out what an obscure image is. So putting up a billboard like this one should be a waste of money:

Yet, this artwork is currently standing in at least two locations: along Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis near 35W and just off 494 on Central Avenue. "What a waste of money," I said to myself when I saw it on Central the other day. What is that a picture of, what is LINX, and why would anyone think this billboard is effective?

Well, it's not directly effective, but the sponsor and their PR firm hit paydirt when they parlayed these badly designed, obscure billboards into a large story on the front page of last Sunday's Star Tribune business section. That "earned" coverage made the whole thing worth it, I imagine.

By the way, I think the weird image inside the stomach shape is a photo of a person addressing Congress, overlaid with welding sparks. Or maybe it's someone performing in a theater. Not that anyone seeing it for half a second while driving past would ever figure that out. And I didn't even notice there was a web address on the billboard until I saw it in the Strib photo.

Good job on giving them the attention they wanted, Star Tribune.


Gina said...

Just from the image, I'd have concluded that LINX was a new GERD over the counter medication. Then I'd wonder if it were actually supposed to be Linux, the computer operating system. But then why the stomach? Everything else would have whizzed past my brain and not stick. So much for effective advertising. No company should count on local media to bring attention to their advertising.

Daughter Number Three said...

My mind touched on the Linux/LINX similarity too, but I forgot about it afterward. LINX is kind of a dumb name, in my opinion. I guess refers to the chain-like nature of the device, but it seems both confusing in the context of a well-known name like Linux and based on a product attribute, rather than a consumer benefit.