Use a Word Only When a Picture Won’t Do

Always reduce your message to its most simple and compelling form. We like to start a campaign by developing the creative concept for outdoor advertising, which is the most difficult because it’s read so quickly. In a matter of seconds, the ad must convey:

  • A message that gets the reader’s attention
  • A promise that’s relevant to the reader
  • What is being “sold”
  • Who is doing the selling
  • How the reader can “buy”

See if you can supplement words with images that help telegraph the message more quickly. For example, on the outdoor board shown here, we rely on the blue man image to make it clear that the headline is referring to back pain. We rely on the logo to identify the service as a hospital—and not a fitness center. This means we can use those last remaining delicious words to get the reader’s attention and make a promise.

When you’re writing, ask yourself whether a picture or a word is the most efficient way to convey an idea. Think visually while you write. You’ll find that by introducing an image, you can trim out excess words and make it easier for your reader to decide if this is a message he or she cares about.