As I navigate through the winding streets of Canberra, taking in the beautiful mountains and cityscape, I can’t help but be amused by the very rare billboard seeking my attention.
It’s usually the amusing ‘on-premise’ Canturf puns, pitched along the Monaro Highway coming past Fyshwick, which we’ve all grown to love, or the giant billboard on the side of Canberra Theatre informing us of upcoming entertainment. Then there’s the cleverly crafted Casino Canberra billboard just outside of Canberra. Apart from these there’s not many more.
I’m wondering what people think about the lack of billboards in the city here and if we should signpost more of these tastefully created marketing campaigns throughout the city. Northbourne Avenue perhaps?
We have a uniqueness to our city that we need to protect. I’m not suggesting that the CBD should look cluttered like Time Square in New York but maybe our city’s town planners could select appropriate sites, without being overly bureaucratic.
Maybe a self regulated approach or a Creative Review Board could be set up to approve imagery to ensure quality control. According to the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) as little as 0.26% of signs are deemed offensive and have complaints lodged about them.
Outside media can be interesting, clever and amusing. These are three attributes that creative agencies should be judged on when proposing their ads for city billboards. This of course will drive most ad agencies crazy because it limits them to having to be creative.
Yes there is an element of road safety we will have to consider. Typically driving is quite undemanding for most. We drive while talking to passengers, looking at the scenery and listening to the radio. However for some, driving a motor vehicle is a complex task that requires the ability to divide attention between numerous competing tasks. Billboards could potentially create a visual fixation and distract us from unexpected changes in road conditions. If only for a second or two.
Wouldn’t it be great if one day we could fill in an afternoon driving around a spectacular city gallery of ingenious billboards? It would be quite unique. What are your thoughts?
(Canturf photo courtesy of Dale Moss)