Above the Bridge for 80 Days

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Billboard design has always had its own set of rules. Most people don’t have time to admire the subtleties of an elegant, understated design as they fly past at 50 miles per hour with their music blaring and their children screaming in the backseat. Even the most skilled multi-tasker will probably only be able to read 4 or 5 words on any billboard, much less an LED digital billboard, where each design in rotation is only displayed for 8 seconds at a time. Despite this drawback, digital boards also have many advantages. For one thing, we can submit a design and see it displayed on the billboard right away. Not only do we get instant feedback on the effectiveness of the design, but we can also add or change designs easily. As you can imagine, this ability to switch out billboards with the click of a button opens up an entirely new realm of design possibilities.

The concept we landed on last winter was a billboard that changed out every day, counting down the days until summer. The client was Wilmington Plastic Surgery, and our original idea was to have 4 main elements in the design: a calendar, a catchy headline, an image of our bikini model, and one line advertising a specific procedure. We were 80 days out from the beginning of summer, which would mean 80 variations of the design. The calendar would change every day, and everything else would change every 2 weeks or so.

To create consistency throughout the campaign, we wanted to use the same bikini model in each variation of the billboard design. We scheduled a photo shoot with a model who did a wonderful job, especially considering we were asking her to frolic around at the beach all day in a bikini…in late January. Once we had our images, we began to lay out the first of our billboard designs. You can always tell when someone in the office is designing a billboard. They scoot their chair way back from their computer, turn their head side to side, and even walk briskly past their computer screen to simulate driving by the billboard.

We realized right away that we had to make a few changes from our original idea. We ditched the fun, handwritten typeface in favor of a more simple, readable font. We got rid of the line of copy advertising a specific procedure. We chose the most dynamic image of our model, paired it with a 2-word headline, and added the calendar. We ran the first variation of the billboard for 2 weeks with only the calendar changing, and then we chose a new image and headline. Our goal was for people who passed the billboard as a part of their daily commute to began to notice the calendar counting down and look forward to the next headline and image.

Take a look at the images of the billboard below. Did you spot the board near the Bradley Creek bridge, and did you notice the countdown? Leave us a comment and let us know!