Learning From The Absence Of Advertising

The day started like any other for me. A mad dash around the house, cramming breakfast food into my face, while deciding which shirt would show the least amount of wrinkles by noon. I was running pretty close to the wire if I wanted to get to work early (on time/barely late), so there was no time to be choosy.

I jumped into my car, gave it a good 4 seconds to warm up, before speeding out of the driveway hoping to make good time. By the time I reached the first light, I was behind a Victoria transit bus, and the odds didn’t seem good.

For 12 minutes, I drove slowly, a feeling of dread creeping up my spine and spilling into my gut for a reason I couldn’t discern. The sun was out, I was hitting some green lights, and my shirt was already starting to flatten out. So what was bothering me?

The Bus Had No Advertising

Maybe it was in between promotions. Maybe the bus with all the ads on it had been sent in for servicing, and I was just seeing a stand-in bus. Still, it was unsettling. There were no ads for soft rock radio, nothing telling me to try a new kind of alcohol responsibly. No real estate ladies in power suits. No supermodels in bathing suits. There wasn’t even an unprecedented lottery jackpot!

When I stopped to think about it, I could list a dozen brand names that I had learned, just from seeing them drive past on their routes about town. Had I actually purchased anything from those brands? Perhaps not… but the fact that I knew their names was already a big deal. Brand familiarity is a big part of buying decisions.

Does Bus Advertising Really Work?

Not everyone agrees on the effectiveness of mobile billboards (or stationary ones for that matter). Truly creative marketers have done incredible things with the medium, but marketing of this kind has been happening for over a hundred years (when mule drawn street cars would carry signs to advertise events).

To prove the efficacy of advertising on buses, a marketing company in Israel (an untapped land for bus advertisements in the early 1990′s), invented a fictitious drink called Limonana.


Feeling thirsty? Try Limonana!

Limonana, so refreshing!

Your favorite celebrity drinks Limonana!

What happened? Such demand was created for the fantasy drink, that restaurants were forced to invent the drink to serve on their menus. (Here’s a recipe for Limonana if you want to try it)

So Is Bus Advertising Best?

We already have proof that bus advertising is powerful, but is it the best choice for everyone? No.

The frustrating thing about mobile billboard advertising (along with its stationary counterpart) is the lack of immediacy, so available in this fast paced business world. When I see a bus advertisement on the morning drive, it does not force me to detour into the closest retailer. In the rare case where I am searching actively for what the advertisement describes, it will influence my buying decision, but only by giving me a name to watch for.

This is why media marketing is so effective. Not only do you have an audience, but you can also tailor your approach to that audience based on what your audience is likely to be interested in.

Taken To The Extreme

Web marketing has taken the lessons of multimedia marketing to the extreme. Not only are advertisers able to tailor their campaigns to specific audiences, but those campaigns can then be adjusted depending on the specific search phrase used at the outset of the journey. An ad placed at the top of a list of relevant search results is not intrusive. It’s actually helpful!

These campaigns are extremely effective. Your marketing effectiveness and return on investment can also be instantly measured without playing guessing games. Ainsley, our resident strategizer of all things marketing, has talked about the accurate measurement of return on investment already, so I’ll leave you to explore all the intimate details on your own time.





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