8 Years and 50,000 Billboard Ads

50,000 billboard ads


In my long career as a creative director for an OOH company, I have created tens of thousands of billboard ads. At this point I have lost count, but it’s a lot. No really, it’s a ton of ads. I’m getting close to 10 years of doing primarily billboard design and wanted to share with you what I have learned, and why we have SO MANY pieces of artwork.

First off, we create ads (usually 3-5) for every potential customer and every renewal. And we always have. If we get a lead, someone calls in, emails us, whatever… We give the sales staff custom ads created for that business so they have something to show them. It has helped our sales tremendously. In fact, not to brag as we are truly blessed, but our occupancy rate in our primary market has been at 95% full or higher as long as I can remember. For this reason we created Tasty Ad. So our sales reps can create great looking spec ads themselves, very quickly and without having any design experience. See our videos.

Something I have learned in my many years as a billboard designer is that most billboard ads have too many words, and there’s not a lot we can do about it. When we get an ad request that is too wordy, we always condense the copy as much as we can, and explain to the client why they should shorten it even more. This helps some… but most of the time they will choose to have too many words. And hey… the customer is always right!  They are paying the bill so what else can we do, right? Not to mention the time you will waste negotiating back and forth about the amount of words being used.

When I get an ad request my method is this:

• Take the wording and condense it as much as possible. Making the most important wording the largest. See this related article.

• If there is a photo, pick one that you can tell what it is from a distance. Don’t steal photos from google images. Use a free photo site or an affordable photo site like Deposit photos.

• Even if the customer doesn’t use a bright eye catching color in their branding, subtly add one to the ad but don’t over do it.

• Don’t waste too much time trying to create the perfect ad when a customer is giving you no wiggle room.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and good luck!

Thanks for reading,


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