5 + 8
An advertising, branding and creative strategy agency in Houston, Texas

Words + Internet

Billboards are a bummer

When was the last time you noticed a billboard?

Today is my answer. And before that, yesterday. I may be pretty close to alone on this issue, but my wife is always reminding me to stop scrutinizing and driving.

"Oh my! Look at that dental office disaster ad!?" I proclaim.

"Please watch the road." she responds.

I'm guilty of distracted driving but it's not my phone's fault.

Sidebar: When I see someone texting and driving I drive right up next to them, stare straight ahead and honk.  It scares the ever-living social media out of them. Then they go right back to texting.

If you live in Houston (or just about anywhere else) you probably haven't seen anything noteworthy either. That is a little surprising when you consider it costs thousands of dollars to execute one of these sky posters. Unfortunately, the behemoths like Clear Channel who own this space don't display pricing on their website.

The best outdoor advertising is Shiner Bock. It's not even really up for debate. They pair everything down to the absolute essentials while maintaining an artistry and message that clearly communicates the brand.



Grading on a Scale.

We decided to drive up and down I-10 and take pictures of every billboard for about 30 miles.  We then printed them all out and graded them on the following system.  The billboard receives a star if we deemed it was successful in the following categories. If the outdoor ad receives four ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ diamonds (we chose diamonds because they are luxurious), it wins eternal billboard glory.


♦  Simplicity / Clarity by Paulina ♦  Layout / Color by Adam ♦  Creative / Memorable by Jeff ♦  Evident Branding by Sarah


Of the 80+ billboards we judged only 2 garnered all 4 diamonds. Kudos go out to Bud Light and Red Bull.  Not surprisingly, both are national brands and have a ton of experience in outdoor advertising. If you think we were wrong or missed judged the work, we'd love to hear your thoughts.  Love may be a little strong, but we're willing to listen.

46% of the billboards received 0 diamonds.


In summation, most folks are spending a lot of money and not effectively executing their message through outdoor. Though true for most advertising, this medium is particularly suited for executing one clear message. If you try and say too much, you end up say nothing at all.


5+8Adam FaustComment