On my way to a football match last weekend, I passed a huge new digital double sided billboard on the A5. It’s erected along the new road between the notorious Coentunnel (a recently solved bottle neck) and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. From a distance you could see the message, clear and colourful. On the Clear Channel website the outdoor company calls it a “Double Digital” with 160m2 digital surface – available for commercial messages. If I had the money and mass audience as my target, I would sign up today.
It reminded me of the living billboard I met this summer during our holiday on a Dutch lake. The tall guy had a clear voice, greeted everyone his eyes met en walked and talked like a sailor. He had to, as he was the sailschool’s head instructor. Every morning he got his gear organised on time, ready for the kids to assemble on the lake side. Even when you were not taking lessons, he still greeted you and wished you a good morning, afternoon or evening. Always cheerful, friendly and ready to help when someone’s boat was not working.
I was impressed. Living billboards do exist! Colourful, friendly, inviting and with a clear message: join my sailboat lesson, enjoy sailing, come back next year. My girls are still talking about him. After years of hinting a week of sailing lessons and learning this great watersport skill, suddenly they got interested. The free evening activities, using the canoes, peddle boards and sailing boats, worked miracles. They decided they want to come back next year and take lessons. I wrote about this positive experience on their website and gave them high scores on the independent travel site we used to check them out. Advertising works as long as you are using the right tools to reach your target audience!