As difficult as it is to digest for some people, all advertising tells a story. Even if it’s ultimately, “you didn’t want to buy this before, now you do” that is still crafting a narrative. All outdoor advertising companies, from Oklahoma to California, need to internalize that, ultimately, they’re storytellers. If you want to know how to craft a good advertising narrative, by all means, read on.
#1. Figure out the story
Aka what are you trying to tell your audience with your ad? Are you just telling them to check out your product, or are you trying to inform them how much better their lives will be with your product in it? Consider what you wish people to take away with them after looking at your ad. Once you have the idea for a story, you can start crafting a narrative.
#2. Short, sweet, safe
Stories don’t have to be sprawling, layered, complex epics about how owning your particular brand of sunscreen will give them deeper insight into the human condition. Although if you can manage that in 5 to 10 seconds worth of information, by all means. Often, crafting a narrative in advertising is conveying in simple terms how your audience’s lives will be altered (hopefully for the better) by using your product. As said before, your audience is only going to be looking at your billboard for 5 to 10 seconds, at most, barring instances of heavy traffic, which can be highly unlikely depending on where you’re putting down the billboard. You want to keep it short, not just so the information is conveyed to the audience quickly, but so that they can look at the billboard, and then right back at the road so they don’t crash into something.
#3. Stand out
Bright colors, unique design, a hilarious tagline, whatever it takes to stand out from the crowd, take it. Old-timers rest stops advertised themselves by putting an image of a woman’s open mouth over a tunnel. The ad didn’t impede the drivers, rather it gave a good metaphor for what was typically done at old-timers (i.e. eating) and was humorous to experience. Don’t just craft a narrative, craft a fun narrative.
A good narrative will always stick in people’s minds, no matter where it comes from. A good billboard narrative is proud, stands out, gets the point across without being distracting, and has a good foundation to work from. So when figuring out what your company’s ad campaign should be, instead ask the question “what story are we trying to tell?”