We all spend a lot of time in cars, but we might be overlooking an under employed PSYOP medium right outside our windshields: Billboards. The December 17, 2018, NY Times ran an article “Digital Data Gives Billboard Owners More Reason to ‘Love a Good Traffic Jam’ (see: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/16/business/media/billboards-highways-traffic-roads.html, which is also the photo source.)
According to the NY Times the average commuter’s one-way trip in the US was not quite a half hour. While some people are indeed illegally looking at their phones, most are looking out the windshield and can help but see the billboards in front of them.
We used billboards and posters on trolleys in Bosnia during my tour there in 1997 -1998 and there are some other good spots up for grabs around the world. Different locations have different perspectives on billboards.
If you’re interested in buying a good spot in Moscow, check out: http://bit.ly/2Grx02D (another photo source). Muscovites also spend quite a bit of time in their cars, perhaps a little turnabout would be fair play. Of course, I’m sure that Mr. Putin, being a former spy has a seasoned network of media watchers on the lookout for anomalies in media messaging that deviate from the party line.
Cuba, on the other hand recognizes the importance of billboards as a way to constantly convey messages about the revolution and proselytize for the Communist way of life. (see: http://bit.ly/2EykEUB, another photo source.)
Then again, recognizing the potential of billboards is not always a good thing. Beijing has a different approach, they hate them and have been systematically destroying them. (see: http://bit.ly/2Esqkik, another photo source.)
And the award for best use of billboards for PSYOP goes to Israel for pictures of Israeli soldiers on a billboard in Tehran, Iran commemorating a war memorial. (see: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45665280, another picture source). How they got there no one (except perhaps the Mosad) seems to know.
Billboards can also be an effective medium because they are visible. Imagery can potentially convey what words cannot as demonstrated by the Israeli soldiers who were identified because of their US made M16 rifles. Target populations with low literacy rates in densely populated cities can also be reached via this medium.
Consider this week’s posting a break from your typical digital overload. At the moment, I’m planning on this being the last posting of 2018 as I will be deploying as a Public Affairs Manager to support the Red Cross recovery efforts in conjunction with the Camp Fire in Northern California.
May 2019 be the very best of years for you and yours.