Billboards: The Least Annoying Advertisements

By: Nick Damko

In today’s society, it’s difficult to get through a day without running into some sort of advertising media. And many of us, even those of us who work in the advertising industry, can admit that ads can be annoying. One of the most established and successful types of advertising is the billboard.
Many consumers have mixed reactions toward billboards, either finding them useful in finding restaurants and attractions during their travels or complaining that they disrupt the scenery. Some municipalities have banned billboards within city limits. Washington D.C. has had a ban on new billboards in the District since 1931!

You shouldn’t let that scare you from using billboards, though. Consumer Reports asked its readers to rank advertising media types based on how annoying they are. The results may surprise you:

  • Various methods of telemarketing (live callers and robots) ranked #1 as most-annoying with about 74-77% considering them major issues
  • Junk mail came in at second most-annoying
  • Web pop-ups ranked third most-annoyingTelevision/video and radio ads ranked fourth most-annoying
  • Billboards ranked last as the least annoying type of advertisement, with only about 11% of those surveyed considering them major issues.

This is good news for the outdoor out-of-home industry. This study shows greater consumer resentment towards newer types of advertising, while tried-and-true billboard advertising alienates fewer potential customers.

This is good information both for media sellers and buyers. Media sellers benefit because this information tells them what works. It gives billboard sellers/brokers the ammunition to win over buyers, while it tells sellers of other media types that they may need to adapt the way their media works. It helps media buyers because it helps them figure out what types of advertising alienate fewer customers, giving their business a better public image. After all, the whole goal of advertising is to win customers, not alienate them.

This survey will help OOH buyers decide what media to buy, as well as suggesting to telemarketing companies that they should change their ways. If they don’t change their ways, they will likely lose more of their clients’ customers than win them over.

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