The Highway Beautification Act signed in 1965 is being challenged and Lady Bird Johnson would be highly offended if she were alive. As I was entering I-75 at the south Corbin interchange recently on my way south for a vacation I remarked to my wife about the condition of some of the billboards there. One was falling apart and a couple of others were blank.
That started me to notice billboards along our route. I saw many others in disrepair and many with no message on them. There are a few locally that are blank and are an eyesore. The companies that own them should paste some public service ad or something to cover the appearance.
Billboards can be helpful when you are looking for a motel or a restaurant when you are on a trip. As for their advertising value in the clusters we see at the edge of our towns, they are highly overrated. Ask yourself how many times they have motivated you to do business with the advertiser because you saw their sign on a billboard.
In addition to recognition, advertising needs to offer benefits. The last time Bill Gaither performed here at the Arena he joked that he saw where you could get a divorce here for $495. The crowd laughed, but the billboard he was referring to did offer a benefit.
I have spent over 50 years in the advertising field. During that time I have attended seminars, read books and studied trends. I could be the richest person on if I had the money spent on ineffective advertising. But one thing I know for sure, that is, if it is done right, it pays.
More than once I’ve been challenged on the effectiveness of advertising in our newspaper. When asked to prove that it works I have offered an automobile dealer or two a free ad if they would let me compose the copy. Nobody would take me up on an offer of a very small ad that said all vehicles were being sold at a dollar each, no gimmicks until all were sold. They agreed that the advertising would work and they would sell out, but no deal.
It is easy to see how Amazon and E-Bay and others on the Internet have attracted so much business, but I don’t understand how the Internet has attracted so much advertising.
Now with our modern technology I seldom see an ad on the TV. I record and fast forward through the advertising. But unlike TV, newspaper and magazine advertising is welcomed. Print has lost much of its advertising in recent years but it is the best medium for showing benefits to the consumer.
This brings me to the main point of this column. Advertising in the News Journal is effective. Over 20,000 people each week read our newspaper. We reach more locally than any other medium. Advertising is one of the main reasons people list for buying the paper. Show them the benefits of buying from your business or if you are a candidate tell the voters why they should vote for you.
Advertising in the News Journal pays!