Apr 2, 2008

You Got 8 Seconds: A Look At Digital Outdoor


Parker Brand: A Look At Digital Outdoor from Oran Parker on Vimeo.

Vinyl and paper billboards are dead...

at least it's starting to look that way at the intersections in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The digital billboard is here and I think we'll be seeing more and more of these on the landscape.

Ever see the movie "Minority Report?" Those of you who have may remember the advertising in that movie (sample video below).



Digital advertising. All of it, customized to the individual viewer. I'd say that the appearance of the digital billboard is a first step towards seeing some of the types of advertising from that film actually become a reality.

I have a few quick thoughts that I'd like to share about this new type of board.

The Pros
  • File Size (You can work at 72 dpi and the proportions that I've worked with have been no greater than 1400 pixels wide. That makes for much smaller file sizes, which means you can get from start to finish much faster.)
  • Message Variety (Whether you post one design on the board or ten, it doesn't really matter. Send them all and have them rotate every cycle.)
  • Bright at Night (Traditional billboards may or may not have lights shining on them, but not these babies. You can really see them at night and if the design is right then you've got a winner.)
  • Instant Changes (If you have a message that you need to get up immediately then you are just a few clicks away from making the change yourself. No more waiting for the paper to get posted. Get online and post it yourself, then take it down when it's done...it's that easy.)
The Cons
  • File Size (Sure...you can work at 72 dpi, but do you really want to? Working at that size may speed you up, but it certainly doesn't leave you with a set of design elements that you'll be able to reuse on other projects. Try using those graphics for your client's posters or printed materials. No dice. So, you can work small, but ultimately it doesn't benefit you in the long run.)
  • More Work, Less Time (Ah...the good 'ol days of setting up a board and seeing that one design up for a month or more. The possibility of multiple message going into rotation all at once means that you've got three times the design work to do and less time to do it.)
  • Image Quality (Yeah...they're bright and that's great, but the quality is still not quite there. They've gotten better, but you've got to be real careful about the size of the text in your messages. The small stuff is gonna blow right out.)
  • Think Fast (Your message is only up for 8 seconds...that's it...and that's not much time, so you've got to boil that message down to its essence or it's not gonna register. If you thought that simplifying your message was hard before then get ready because these boards are up for even less time than most web banners...and your audience is in transit.)
  • Red Light, Green Light (These boards can be entertaining while your sitting at an intersection, but watch out! I've noticed that when the boards change it kind of flips a switch in the brain, the same switch that gets flipped when a light changes from red to green. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. You're sitting at a light, you see the board change and your brain says "GO." You hit this gas and then SLAM! They may get the message across but they are also an incredible distraction. Be cautious when viewing these things and don't "zone out" on them.)
Like I said, these boards are here to stay and they'll more than likely evolve as time goes by. I think these boards are a fascinating medium and if used properly can be a very useful advertising tool. On the flip side, do we really need one more distraction on our congested city streets? If these boards are a sign of one thing then it's this; advertising is changing fast and the time we have to go from concept to completion is getting shorter and shorter. Better put on your thinking cap.

1 comment:

Sasilvia said...

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