05302017
7-Day Forecast | Currently in Provo

5 Utah Valley business billboards that rock the roads

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 It’s tough out there for a billboard. It has to be informative, readable and entertaining — all while cars zip by at 75 mph 65 mph.

But these five business billboards (nominated by you, dear readers) have sped through the masses to become the most riveting rectangles. 

We talked to the local companies behind them to find out how these campaigns came to be, their best piece of billboard advice, and the biggest billboard blunders they ever did see.

 

1. MoneyDesktop, Provo

MD-tr33-FINAL

BUSINESSQ SAYS 

We wish we could say we knew what these billboards meant, but that’s just part of their charm. We love ourselves a bold billboard, and this one’s rather brilliant.

THE IDEA

“Members of our marketing and engineering teams worked closely to develop this concept and puzzle,” says Michael Moulton, creative director at MoneyDesktop. “We wanted to create something that spoke directly to the people we wanted to recruit: ‘Ruby’ Software Engineers. But not just any software engineer — one who loves to solve problems and be challenged.”

BEST REACTION

“’Did you know there is gibberish on your billboard?’ We get that one quite a bit. The best reactions come from people we’ve interviewed and hired as a result of the puzzle billboards. They appreciate we’ve taken the bold move to speak directly to them — in a language only they understand. Another cool reaction was a potential client in New York. He told us our billboards were some of the coolest he had ever seen and that he wanted to put them up in New York. This was an impressive comment coming from a VERY influential person in our industry.”

BEST TIP

“Great billboards make people feel something and take action — not just convey info. We want people to ‘feel’ the MoneyDesktop culture, brand and mindset when they see our billboards.”

BIGGEST BILLBOARD BLUNDERS

“Not taking a chance to do something different or bold. Too many billboards stick with ‘safe’ ideas.”

 

2. DexterLaw, OREM

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BUSINESSQ SAYS Capitalizing on an all-too-true Utah Valley cliché with humor and class? We rest our case. 

THE IDEA

“We were discussing with our business coach, Dave Crenshaw, the fact that well-meaning people in whom we have the highest levels of trust — mom, dad, BFF, home teacher — may not be best equipped to provide competent professional advice and services,” says Chris Dexter, co-founder of DexterLaw. “We devised a “Because Your ______ Doesn’t Practice Law” campaign and tried them all. We soon learned what we had suspected — the ‘home teacher’ ad was the homerun.”

BEST REACTION

“It has been, by far, the most popular ad campaign during DexterLaw’s nearly 20 years of law practice. Fillmore Spencer, the largest law firm in the valley, even responded to our campaign by placing their own billboard near ours stating, ‘Your Home Teacher May Not Practice Law, But These Visiting Teachers Do!’ We have a good relationship with Fillmore Spencer, and it was refreshing to have some good-natured fun.”

BEST TIP

“Know your market and use humor. Humor opens doors to permissive advertising and connects on a personal level.”

BIGGEST BILLBOARD BLUNDERS 

“Many offer too much information.  Others don’t understand the local market (i.e. Salt Lake businesses trying to break into Utah Valley).”

 

3. Domo, AMERICAN FORK

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BUSINESSQ SAYS 

All of Domo’s billboards elicit a rousing reaction, but the throwback to “Different Strokes” makes us chuckle every single time. Domo is what BusinessQ is talkin’ bout.

THE IDEA

“We built a wall of mini-billboards in the office, and we give everyone the chance to submit their ideas,” says Josh James, CEO of Domo. “Every couple of months, a few of us will review the submissions and choose the next batch to go into our I-15 billboard rotation. The ‘Domo is what Willis was talkin’ bout’ billboard came out of that process. We knew it was a keeper the minute we saw it.”

BEST REACTION

“Many of our employees, who totally missed the ‘Different Strokes’ connection, thought the billboard was a homage to our head of UX, Chris Willis.”

BEST TIP

“A stellar and effective billboard is memorable and gets people talking. Ours often teeter on the verge of absurd, but they get a reaction — and that’s our intent. We had one billboard, for example, that said, ‘We don’t like haiku, the Illiad and Triathaletes. And yeah, they’re related.’ That one created such a buzz — on social media, in the office and with new recruits — a lot of effort went into trying to figure out what we were talking about. It was great.”

BIGGEST BILLBOARD BLUNDERS

“The first is trying to say too much. The second is not being memorable. And the two are definitely related.”

 

4. Ken Garff Automotive, OREM

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BUSINESSQ SAYS Hey, Ken Garff Automotive! Are your giant ears ringing? Because everyone is talking about your campaign. We hear YOU. 

THE IDEA

“The billboards we’ve run are about advancing our brand and promoting us as a different kind of dealership group,” says Matt Jensen, marketing director. “The listening aspect has been the main feature, obviously. Part of why this board is this good is that it’s building on our previous listening/big ear boards.”

BEST REACTION

“One of our executives told us that in his son’s high school class they were debating a point, and after not being able to reach an agreement, the teacher tried to wrap up the debate with a “we’ll never know” kind of statement by saying, “Well, if a tree fell in the woods …” One of the kids in the class piped in, “Ken Garff would hear it!” and the class exploded with laughter. That’s part of how we know it’s working: when it becomes a piece of local culture.”

BEST TIP

“As advertisers, we have to hold up our end of the bargain. People give us their attention, and we need to give them something in return.”

 

BIGGEST BILLBOARD BLUNDERS

“Putting too much on there. We follow the eight-words-or-less rule of thumb, with rare exception. That includes company name, website, phone, etc. If you have to put all that on there, there’s no room left for anything interesting. And if you can’t figure a way around that, billboards might not be for you.”

 

5. AtTask, LEHI

AT-Billboard-Q1-2013-Scaring-Hail-Clouds

BUSINESSQ SAYS Oh, how we love a good pun. AtTask’s billboard has us on cloud nine.

THE IDEA

“Our goal a few years ago was to raise awareness within the tech community and developers that AtTask was a SaaS company, specifically for recruiting purposes,” says Bryan Nielsen, CMO. “Our first billboards were designed to break through the noise with an edgy fun play on words ‘Kickin’ SaaS. Takin’ Names,’ which received a lot of external buzz and has become our internal rallying cry and a key pillar of our brand and company personality. After that ran for a year, we saw our awareness in the tech community increase significantly, and we wanted to keep the same goal and approach, but come at it from the ‘cloud’ angle.”

 

BEST REACTION

“When we reach out to a potential candidate and they say, ‘Oh yeah, I love your billboards.’ Especially when 18 months ago they would have said, ‘Who is AtTask?’ and hung up the phone.”

 

BIGGEST BILLBOARD BLUNDERS 

1. Trying to do too much (more than one purpose). 2. Trying to convey too much information. 3. Using small or unreadable text or colors. 4. Having a disconnect between the creative and what is being conveyed. 5. Ineffective medium for the purpose. 6. Too vague. 7. Too clever. 8. Lacking anything interesting that would make it stand out in a sea of billboards. 9. Companies thinking they are the same as their target audience.”

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