Outdoor advertising

Successful Advertising Explained

Cashing in on one of the biggest successes of 2013.

Cashing in on one of the biggest successes of 2013.

Funny stuff. We came across this on Reddit. We sure do love a funny sign.

That is indeed what it is, a funny sign and we LOVE sharing funny signs. However every once in a while someone asks the question, why?

Why share it? How is this useful? what good is it? Sure they had a sign with their name on it. Sure they put something funny on it. But so what? Did it land a sale?

How is this beneficial to business? Where is the ROI? Isn’t this just a random sign? Is this a part of a larger business plan?

The truth is no it isn’t a part of some larger, elaborate business plan. It is simply a sign that was concocted by a small business owner on the fly to promote their business. There likely was no large meeting, no discussion with Public Relations, no mock-ups, no approvals sent off.

It is simply a chalkboard sign on a sidewalk. Simple. Basic. No strings attached.

Yet it is the simple little gems like this one that best illustrate the big picture behind effective advertising. There are three key elements for effective advertising:

  1. “Content”,
  2. “Relevance”,
  3. “Call to action”.

(Hint: This particular ad encompasses two of three of them). Let’s examine for a moment.


For an advertisement (or any marketing venture) to be effective it must engage the consumer. It must grab their attention long enough to communicate the bare essentials required to generate a “sales lead”. It must create an interest in the viewer to know more about the product or service. This “Engagement” is the first step to landing a sale. If you can engage (IE interest) the consumer, you are getting them on the proverbial “hook” and working towards reeling them in.

Good “Relevant” “Content” dictates an advertisement’s effectiveness. The better and more relevant the content, the higher the ROI (IE the more leads are generated). When an advertisement is developed there are numerous facets considered in order to determine the best “Content” for the job. Among them one considers:

  1. The target market and the type of consumers that one is trying to attract. This can include age, gender, geography, race, sexual preference, social background and numerous other traits.
  2. The current zeitgeist (spirit) of the target market. In other words, what is relevant in the news, what is new, what is popular, what are the trends. What is resonating with people?
  3. What is presently taboo? What is off-limits? How close can you skirt the edge?

The term “Content is King” is not a new one. In fact is has been the general governing principle behind marketing and advertising for decades. Content will ALWAYS determine your success.


Relevance is directly linked to content. Content relies on being relevant. Non-relevant content will fail. For content (and by extension, the advertisement) to be successful it MUST. BE. RELEVANT. As described above, it must resonate with the consumer. It must connect with them. It must reach out and grab them.

One may find relevance with the target market by:

  1. Tapping into a trend (the image above is an example, tapping into the enormity of Breaking Bad’s success).
  2. By taking sides in a debate (Starbucks made it very clear what side they were on in the ongoing same-sex marriage debates in the U.S.A).
  3. By showing their passion for an interest they share with their consumers.
This small business used their love of Pokemon to engage specific consumers.

This small business used their love of Pokemon to engage specific consumers with the same interest.

Relevant content is key, however one must never try so hard to be relevant that they overstep. The history of marketing and advertising is riddled with embarrassing and “brand-breaking” stories of campaigns that over-stepped. They attempted to connect into a relevant news topic or social opinion and offended the masses or demonstrated ignorance on a topic *Cough-Kenneth-Cole-cough*.

There will be times when relevance is a double-edged sword and one must consider whether there is enough benefit to off set potential consequences. Consider the ongoing feud over same-sex marriage in the U.S. On one side you had Chick-Fil-A taking a hardened stance against it. On the other side you had Starbucks taking a stance FOR it. Both had reasons for their choice and by all accounts they seemed to be highly personal reasons.

From a purely business stance, taking a side one way or the other on a topic as explosive as this was bound to have massive impact on their consumer base. To take a stance on this purely to gain business would be a questionable move. It is a RELEVANT topic, but that does not mean it was profitable to explore. Regardless of their reasons, both won certain target markets and lost certain target markets. The fallout was double-edged.

Note: We are not saying that a business taking a stand for issues like this is always a business decision. Nor are we arguing that business cannot or should not take a moral stance. This example is meant only to argue that two large businesses taking opposite stances on an issue demonstrates the fickle and ambiguous nature of “relevance”.

Relevant Content is the key to your consumers hearts. Win their interest and you may win their sale.

Hows this for a call to action? FREE BACON!

Hows this for a call to action? FREE BACON!


If we were to fault the “Hey Meatball” sign above for one thing, it could perhaps be the lack of a “Call to action” (not saying we would, just that we COULD). This is the one thing the sign does not directly broadcast.

A Call to action is basically the motivation that a business gives to the consumer to follow through with the sale. A good example of a Call to action may be providing a limited time offer, or a bonus of some sorts for making a purchase immediately.

A Call to action is an excellent way to compounding on good relevant content. Think of it this way, you just grabbed your consumers attention, they have read your advertisement and their interest is piqued. Now, do they walk away with that, or is there a reason for them to immediately act upon what they have seen? If they walk away, there is still chance of a sale, however if there is a Call to action than that sale may happen sooner (and is more likely a sure thing).

A good Call to action for “Hey Meatball” may have been to offer one-time “Breaking Bad Shades” to anyone ordering their special spaghetti that day (that is only a kind of a joke). They could have offered a discount on a meal for anyone citing a Heisenberg quote, or for anyone with a shaved head and goatee (again, only kind of a joke).

Call your customers to action. Provide them with a reason to make a move immediately.


You see, it is more than just a funny sign. It is an illustration and a lesson. One to remind us to always raise the bar for content (even if it is via the simplest medium).

This funny little sign did not necessarily play into a larger scale marketing plan.  However it generated engagement. It generated Interest. It created a conversation piece for consumers who, as we see, found it interesting enough to share online. It did what it was supposed to do as an ad.

It spread the word and created a conversation centred around the brand. That is the power of “relevant” “content”.


Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.


The Marketing Toolbox: Have You Heard About “BenchAds”?

Transition marketing ServicesAt Transition Marketing, our passion is small business. Any day that we get to assist a fellow small business in some small way, is a good day. It gets even better when we can provide a small business some exposure AND showcase some marketing tools in the process.

Creating Advertising Opportunities.

BenchAds.biz provided just that opportunity. They are a locally run company within the Okanagan / Shuswap area that provides exactly what the name indicates – advertising on benches. They provide a unique, budget friendly marketing and advertising opportunity to the local small business community. Needless to say when we heard about this business, we knew we had to investigate.

We had a chat with Carene Wooster the owner and operator of BenchAds.biz to see what marketing and advertising value they could add to local small business.

Based in Salmon Arm, BC, BenchAds is a family owned and operated company. The family has been connected with the business for as long as the benches have existed. Carene’s grandpa was in fact the one who originally fabricated the bus benches back when Salmon Arm’s Transit System first began.

Bus Bench AdvertisingTransition Marketing Services

The premise of the advertising is quite simple. Since the inception of the Salmon Arm transit system there has been a series of benches located through the city. Each of these benches provides a well situated, public advertising spot. BenchAds owns and controls these spots and for a small price you get to use them.

They are similar to the billboards you see along the highway, only slightly smaller and located in prime areas in the downtown core. They are priced at a fraction of what a highway billboard costs and provide a high level of exposure to both foot and vehicle traffic.

Outdoor advertising has undeniably always been effective. BenchAds provides this opportunity to the local business community at a highly competitive rate. If that is not enough to pique your interest then consider the following:

  • Unlike TV, radio or online advertising, viewers cannot change, mute or close the ad. If they are passing by the bench, then the ad is viewed – 24/7.
  • It creates brand exposure in new areas where none may have existed before.
  • Outdoor advertising is being seen by an increasing amount of traffic.
  • As mass transit increases in popularity BenchAds will increase in exposure.
  • According to the OAAA, outdoor advertising is one of the most cost effective advertising options in existence and provides a high ROI (return on investment).
  • Recent reports by Brandscience (via CBS here) found that for each dollar spent on out-of-home advertising, an average of $2.80 was received in sales.

Want more? Check out these case studies on outdoor advertising via the Pattison Group:

Let’s face it, small businesses need budget friendly marketing and advertising tools. BenchAds.biz offers just that; a unique alternative outdoor advertising option. One that places outdoor advertising within the reach of small businesses that could never afford that coveted highway billboard.

We’ll end with a note here from BenchAd.biz owner Carene Wooster:

We encourage our advertisers to advertise on more than one location. Personally I know that when I see a hamburger on a sign I honestly have a profound drawing to eat a hamburger!! Now, what happens if I’m driving around town and I see this big juicy hamburger 5 different times all from the same vendor? When I finally do decide to go get that tasty treat where’s the first place I’m going to think of? Advertising on multiple locations has a much greater branding effect.
One of advertising’s best kept secrets, bus benches can easily be overlooked when businesses are looking at their marketing strategies. People seem to get caught up in all the other forms of advertising and others naively think the viewing audience is limited to those who use the transit system! The fact is, everyone sees them! Next time you’re out and about, see for yourself! -Carene Wooster – owner & operator
For more info check out our website www.benchads.biz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BenchAds.biz