Billboard Advertisement: Does It Measure Up To The Costs Incurred?
Billboards are a common sight along major highways the world over. Interestingly, all these are opportunities for companies to display what they have to offer to potential customers. According to Statista data, the use of billboard advertisements increased with the introduction of digital billboards. However, does the cost of this media measure up to the return on investment (ROI)?
Billboard advertisement and visual pollution
In 2016, there were 368,239 billboards in the US. However, this number had fallen drastically by August 2019 to 342,306. Notably, there has been a steady decline in the number of billboards going up in the country since 2017. Ironically, the drop is happening at a period when billboard advertisers are touting the superior impressions generated by digital billboards. Impressions may not be the issue, but the issue is visual pollution.
In the US, incessantly flashing billboards crowding cities like New York and San Francisco are a visual blight. While the sight is mesmerizing to the eyeballs that they seek to excite, they are annoying and a bore. Interestingly, Americans are already working towards putting an end to the billboard menace in the country. Scenic America is a non-profit committed to eradicating the visual pollution coming from billboards. According to the organization’s tagline, it aims to protect and enhance the visual character of the US. Interestingly, the non-profit describes billboards as the “junk mail of the American highway.”
The anti-billboard movement is global. In 2007, the city of Sao Paulo passed the Clean City Law that banned erecting of billboards in the city. The law explicitly called out billboards (digital and traditional) as a form of visual pollution. Similarly, Chennai in India stopped companies from erecting billboards in the city. Similar moves are identifiable in Tehran, and some American states like Alaska, Hawaii, and Vermont.