Thinking Outside the Board: Add-ons and Special Effects for billboard Advertising

Billboards offer a unique advertising experience. Because they’re placed on high-traffic roadways and near intersections, they tend to get a higher number of impressions as compared to other advertising and marketing techniques. Plus, they’re HUGE and travelers can’t shut them off, unsubscribe, or swipe left. Now, incorporate add-ons and/or special effects to your outdoor ad, and you’re going to really knock the socks off passers-by!

We’ve all seen billboards with special effects and add-ons (think: black and white cows touting a certain chicken sandwich). They’re even harder to miss than standard billboards. Our brains are naturally attracted to novelty, so the extra, unexpected elements of these billboard additions grab our attention hard.

Now, you may think billboard special effects are only for the huge brands with bovine spokespeople, but you’d be mistaken! Penneco Outdoor has the capabilities to create extensions, 3D embellishments, digital billboard special effects, and more. And we can help you create a show-stopping outdoor ad campaign that Western Pennsylvanians won’t be able to miss. Here are some of the ways we ‘think outside the board.’

Billboard Extensions

A billboard extension is a piece of artwork placed to extend beyond the straight edges of the billboard’s frame. Typically, they are cut out into a specific shape and extend from one or both sides of the billboard, and/or from the top of the frame.

Using a variety of materials such as plywood, fiberglass, and adhesive vinyl, we can take a boxy billboard and create a unique shape to showcase a product or to create personality for your brand. As billboards require brands to contain their message to just a few words and images – so people can “get it” quickly, as they pass by in their cars – an extension grabs more attention. At the same time, an extension can also convey more meaning quickly. Extending a billboard to create an iconic shape for your brand will make you stand out from the crowd.

3D Embellishments

The aforementioned Holsteins suggesting chicken (or “CHIKIN”) for dinner might be the most well-known example of 3D embellishments incorporated into billboard ads. But imagine the impact of a larger-than-life 3D version of your product extending from your billboard ad. (It’s like window shopping at 60mph!) For a service-based business, a 3D add-on might depict people engaging in your service or activity. That imagery would help people imagine what the experience would be like.

3D printers can create myriad shapes that can be added to a billboard to make it really come to life. Inflatable objects are also an option for 3D billboard add-ons.

Additional Attention-Grabbers

Standard billboard ads are typically printed on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene (PE; which is recyclable), but they’re not limited to those “plain” vinyl materials. Reflective materials, such as 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material, that add a bit of sheen or glow to the ad artwork are also available.

The entire ad can be printed on the reflective surface, or Scotchlite could be added to a standard print to highlight key components of the ad to make them more noticeable. An added benefit of incorporating reflective material into your billboard advertising is that they can be seen at night, even if the lighting is low. (And be seen if the lights have been turned off after midnight, as is the practice in some areas). When drivers pass by, their headlights not only illuminate the ad, the reflective material will provide a sense of depth or even movement, as the lights pass over it.

Digital Billboard Special Effect Embellishments

By their nature, digital billboards offer a lot of flexibility in terms of creating special effects with your advertising. For example, the headline or a specific element of the artwork could flash or flicker to catch drivers’ attention. Similarly, the headline could change colors to add a little novelty. The mere fact that digital billboards aren’t completely static (and are always, automatically illuminated) means they tend to get more looks than standard billboards.

Apps can also be added to the software that operates digital billboards for up-to-the-minute information. Clocks that display the date and time, counters to display statistics (e.g., donations received), and timers that countdown to an event are common apps companies incorporate into their digital billboard ads.

Finally, although full animation on digital billboards is unwise*, short videos and other effects that show movement can be added to digital billboard ads. Imagine a liquor brand ad where you can see the liquid flowing into a glass or the wake moving behind a boat for a tourism ad.  

(*Full video is too difficult for people to follow in the few seconds they’ll be passing by. Plus, it creates a potential safety hazard for drivers.)

How Will You Incorporate Add-Ons or Special Effects into Your Billboard Ad?

We hope this article got you thinking about some creative ways you can innovate with your outdoor advertising campaign by adding on to your static billboard or adding apps or other special effects to your ad. Visit our resources page for more information on Penneco Outdoor’s capabilities. If you have a great idea you want to discuss – or you’re not sure if how your desire ad concepts would work – give us a call, and we’ll help get you started.

Penneco Outdoor Advertising offers all of the innovative options described here to help your business design advertising that captures attention and leaves lasting impressions. Plus, our professional artwork design is always free, and we have pricing options to fit any budget.

Don’t miss out of opportunities to be seen. Call us today to get started and get your message out there!

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Penneco Outdoor Advertising
Address: 6608 Rte 22, Ste 307, Delmont, PA 15626
Phone: 724-461-1041
Email: Outdoor@Penneco.com
Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30 – 5:00

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