When you see good creative for a wild posting campaign, you can tell in an instant why it was successful. It’s clear what the ad is hawking. It’s easy to take in the message. It’s eye-catching without being overwhelming. And it’s something you don’t forget as you keep walking down the street.
Bad creative, on the other hand, can be confusing. It’s unclear what the ad is about. You have to look at it a few times to grasp the message — you may even start walking away before you understand it. It’s too bright or not bright enough. You forget about it a few seconds after you encounter it.
Good creative is critical for a successful campaign. You can’t succeed at branding, raising awareness or any of the other aims of a wild posting campaign if people miss the message on your postings.
Luckily, it’s quite clear what separates good creative from the bad for wild posting. There are rules you can follow to maximize the effectiveness of your posters. And when you keep these guidelines in mind, you get fun, attention-drawing creative that will accomplish your goals.
Rule 1: Use High Contrast Colors
Washed-out colors won’t work on a wild posting campaign. People often make the mistake of using a light font on a light background, for instance. While that may offer a cool aesthetic, what’s most critical for wild posting is creative people can read in a second or two. If they have to spend a few seconds trying to figure out what you’re saying, you lose them.
You can use bright colors on a light background or light colors on a dark background. The higher the contrast, the easier it is to see, especially from a distance. The typeface has to be visible from far away.
Rule 2: Employ Readable Fonts
Readability is another key — do you sense a trend here? Just as you should employ colors that make your copy easy to see, you should also use fonts big and clear enough for people to read from a distance. The actual size of the font will vary depending on how many words you have (see the next rule), how big your poster is, and the size of the rest of the creative.
Skip fancy fonts in favor of ones people can read easily. You don’t need them scratching their heads over whether that’s a g or an f, which can happen with a funky font. Test out your choices beforehand to make sure people can read them from at least a few feet away.
Rule 3: Keep Your Word Count Low
This rule applies to just about every form of out-of-home media, but it’s important to remember nonetheless. Use the fewest number of words possible to get your idea across. When people walk past your wild posting, they don’t have time to read a lot of words. It stays within their range of sight for just a few seconds.
The simpler the message, the easier it is to absorb. Many people consider six or fewer words best for billboard advertising. You can probably cut that down to four or five for wild posting since the surface is smaller. For instance, for an album promotion, you might have the name of the album and the date (in numbers) when it drops. To promote a concert, you may not even need the name of the artist if they’re famous enough. Everyone will recognize a picture of a Lady Gaga or Lizzo, but you should include the date of the concert.
Rule 4: Avoid White Backgrounds for Tagging
White posters in a big city just scream, “Hey, tag me!” People will grab a paintbrush and start painting over a white background. Consider: A big brand put up murals around LA with a white background, and they barely lasted a week and a half. Everyone was tagging them. Avoid the headache by skipping the white background, even if you think it looks so clean and attractive. You won’t like it so much when your message is covered up.
Rule 5: Embrace the QR Code (and Reject the URL)
QR codes are the best way to send people to your website. They can snap a shot of it on their phones and immediately connect to your website. It’s a much better alternative to putting a URL on a poster. Most people won’t remember the URL unless it’s about five characters long. Worse, they won’t make the effort to type it in anyway. People want instantly accessible things, and QR codes grant that access. Plus, you can track how many people came to the site from the poster, a great way to measure return on investment.
And while we’re on the topic, don’t put up 1-800 numbers, either. Websites require less effort from your audience and, again, few people will take the time to call a number.
Rule 6: Don’t Plan a Campaign Around a “Payoff”
Payoffs are teasers, where you try to build interest in something by playing it all mysterious and encouraging people to wonder about what you’re trying to advertise. They work like this: A brand posts cryptic messages for a couple of weeks and then posts a big reveal once buzz has built up. For example, you might put up wild posting showing a trio of Martians and the words “they’re coming,” Then, days later, you post over those Martian ads with a promotion for War of the Worlds, the movie you were alluding to all along.
There are several problems with this approach, though.
- Someone may never return to the area to find out what you were advertising.
- You have to use the same branding on everything to connect the payoff to the original, and even then, not everyone will pick up on the connection.
- People tend to have short-term memories, and they forget about what they saw first, even if it made them wonder for a minute.
Payoffs can backfire so easily, then, that it’s not worth even trying.
When you follow these rules for wild posting, you will have better campaigns and better returns. You can learn more by getting in touch — just fill out the form at the bottom of the page.