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How fast can you read?
Cut that in half and you’ve got the average American reader.*
thumbs up

Now put the average American reader in a car, and challenge him to read words flying past at 60 miles per hour on a distant billboard.

Suddenly 5 words seems like a lot. Which is why the ideal billboard is really only three words.

But you can’t possibly say anything meaningful and compelling about your brand in 3 to 5 words, can you? Turns out you can.

  • I’m Lovin’ It (McDonald’s)
  • Yesterday You Said Tomorrow (Nike)
  • Text and Drive (Wathan Funeral Home)

These examples all have something in common. They’re brand-level statements—and that’s exactly what billboards excel at.

If your agency hasn’t summed up your brand essence in fewer than five words, challenge them to do so. Having a concisely powerful, memorable brand statement will serve your marketing needs far beyond the next out-of-home insertion.

And if you’d like to say a little bit more to people in motion, there other forms of transit advertising that can accommodate more in-depth messaging. Posters that are placed at bus shelters, train platforms and within trains and buses enjoy a waiting, often captive audience.

To summarize the best approach to billboards: Do more with less.

(Yes, we’ll try to get that down to 3 words from 4.)

*This is no reflection on intelligence, by the way. We’re all familiar with the list of dyslexic geniuses who changed the world.