Fast-food billboards are as cookie-cutter as cookie-cutter gets.

A large blown-up image of a burger and fries on a bright red backdrop with copy smack center reading something along the lines of…

Burger, buy one get one free.

This presents a huge opportunity for fast-food brands courageous enough to get a little creative with their billboard advertising.

When it comes to fast-food (or fast-casual or whatever you want to call it) Chipotle is a category of one.

It immediately differentiates itself from the dozens of other players in the space by not selling burgers and fries.

And, it never gets compared to its closest relative, Taco Bell, because unlike the cheap, delicious, exploding diarrhea inducing drunken 2 a.m. hotspot, Chipotle is actually “healthy”.

And not like Subway "healthy.

(Except for when they have E. Coli outbreaks but that’s neither here nor there).

Since Chipotle is in a category of one, it’s immediately playing at an advantage. Folks aren’t going to McDonald’s or Wendy’s or KFC if they’re craving a burrito, they’re going to Chipotle.

So, Chipotle’s advertising is less about getting a hungry driver to get off on the next exit and choose them over (fill in the blank fast-food joint) and more about being interesting –– something that can be seen in one of their billboards that surfaced on the internet not too long ago.

Breaking all the rules of billboard advertising.

If you were to ask a fast-food billboard specialist the do’s and don’ts of fast-food billboard advertising, she would tell you to include a picture of the food you’re selling, keep your message right around the 7-word mark and to make your text visible.

She would also look at Chipotle’s above billboard and tell you it’s bloody brilliant (despite the fact that it is breaking all the rules).

It doesn’t include a single picture of a chip or a taco or a burrito. It’s a massive 16-word message that on a billboard feels like a novel. And, 80% of the text you have to squint to actually read.

But, somehow, it works.

Chipotle’s 16-word billboard is a great example of doing something different with your marketing. No matter what industry you’re in, there are unwritten rules in marketing you’ll find yourself consciously and sometimes subconsciously abiding by.

Healthcare advertising always has cheesy images of people grinning. Real-estate advertising always consists of a picture of a man in a suit in a power stance. Bed-in-a-box mattress advertising… don’t get me started on bed-in-a-box mattress advertising.

Anyway, you get the gist.

If you can highlight the advertising norms in your industry and then think up advertising that is thoughtfully different, you can create a billboard that gets seen by a lot more people than just those in cars… by folks scrolling through the internet, too.


Share This:

Get up to 30% off all new products with GoDaddy!
Related Posts