The purpose of a billboard is to interrupt as many people as possible, to create awareness not necessarily impact, to broadcast instead of engage.
I’ve passed a lot of forgettable billboards, pleading from the side of highways on my travels this week—maybe you have too. The only ones that left any kind of impact were part of Apple’s stunning user created ‘Shot on iPhone 6′ campaign. The marketing works despite the medium, because the billboard doesn’t tell us what the product can do, the images show us who we might become in its presence. We are moved by them because they tell the user’s, and not the company’s story. No description of features and benefits required.
Powerful marketing is both smart and generous, we know it when we experience it, because it changes how we feel and gives us a story to tell. Weak marketing is obvious and selfish, we know that when we see or hear it, because it screams ‘LOOK AT ME!’ and leaves us cold.
We might not be Apple, but we each have more power to connect with and impact people than a billboard can, how we use it is a choice.
When our marketing changes how people feel and holds a mirror up to the customer—telling their story, not ours, we’re on the right track.
Image by kind permission of gifted photographer Julian Bialowas. His photo is featured here in the iPhone 6 campaign.