After I finished my last post, Puzzling Billboards, I ran across what might be an even better example of a billboard that cleverly invokes the “aha!” phenomenon and possibly the neuromarketing reward mechanism I described in Marketing to the Infovore. While I didn’t have my camera handy as I zoomed by it, the concept of the billboard was simple enough to reproduce here:

There was also a toll-free number. The sign was actually a “filler” ad for an unsold billboard put up by the billboard company itself. I found several things to like about this ad:

1) It’s complex enough that it will take most people a few seconds to decode into “Less is More.”
2) It’s short enough for viewers to retain the whole thing in short-term memory even after they pass the sign.
3) The “aha!” effect is probably stronger than for simpler decoding tasks like those in Puzzling Billboards,.
4) Once decoded, it conveys a key message about effective billboard advertising.

If I have any criticism of this ad, it’s that it is far more about promoting the medium vs. the billboard company itself. The branding impact and call to action are nearly non-existent. Nevertheless, local business owners and advertising decision-makers will no doubt know who to call if they need billboard help. All in all, this ad is elegant in its simplicity and is a perfect example of how even a quick, drive-by exposure can keep the viewer’s attention even as the sign fades in the rear-view mirror.

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