Ken’s Billboard Display Attracts First Client

Last month I noted on Facebook that I had won a business card drawing at a party held by Adams Sign Company, the company whose name you see at the bottom of about half of the billboards in the Ann Arbor area and throughout Michigan. From my understanding of the award, they were going to help me design four signs that would rotate on one billboard for a month of my choosing. I thought they would be the only four signs per rotation.

I was pretty pumped. I met with two company representatives and talked through the content and design that I wanted and when and where I wanted the signs to appear. I knew what I wanted. Three signs would advertise my three latest book creations (two books, one four-volume series); the fourth would advertise my book coaching services.

I knew exactly when I wanted them to appear: throughout July, which would include Ann Arbor Art Fair.

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I had two locations from which to choose: one on 23 South heading into Arbor from the north, the other on I-94 West heading into Ann Arbor from Detroit, at the Huron Road exit in Ypsilanti. I chose the second.

And so they got to work.

Meanwhile, my understanding of what I had won evolved. Emily suggested that my four signs would share rotations with possibly up to a dozen other signs. No, that couldn’t be, I insisted. But as I observed billboards with rotating messages, I concluded that, indeed, most had far more than four separate signs per rotation and mine probably would, too.

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Still, my own sign showing up every fourth sign, give or take, for a month was a pretty impressive use of budget dollars (which, remember, were $0).

The day came when they went up. I was psyched. I waited a week to see them, building the psych juices. I brought Emily with me. We pulled over to the side of the freeway just inside the off-ramp to Huron Road and waited for the first sign to appear. We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the first sign appeared. It looked great. It was so impressive, I wanted to buy the book. Then we waited. And waited.

Alas, we discovered that my signs showed up in the same spot in every rotation, which meant that each sign appeared only once per four rotations.

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I learned years ago that in advertising a message doesn’t start to become effective until around the time the audience is getting sick of it. I concluded that there was no way anyone whizzing by at 75 per, even every day, was going to get sick of a message that showed up only once every 50+ signs. (Technically, as one of the reps explained to me, “the digital face has a total of 6 full shares and 2 half share positions which you share in sequence.”)

So I made an executive decision to dump the three book signs and keep only my book coaching sign.

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That’s what I did.

Yesterday I got my first call. I’m meeting with my new client at 1 p.m. today at my office. (Yes, Panera.)

Meanwhile, I’ve displayed my four billboard messages throughout this blog entry. Nice?

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4 Responses

  1. Love the new sign!!##
    Very smart

  2. Brilliant! Congrats, Ken! You clearly made the right choice. Where is the sign?

  3. Jayne, it’s on I-94 heading west from Detroit, at the Huron Road off-ramp.

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