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taxiI constantly see advertisements on the back of taxi and the sides of buses and I’m bewildered at the unbelievable “waste of money” most of these advertisement are.

When was the last time you purchased hair shampoo, a breakfast cereal or hardware item as a result of seeing an advertisement on the back of the bus?

Whenever I’m holding seminars, I often ask the 100 or 200 attendees “Has anyone ever purchased anything as a result of seeing an advertisements on a bus or taxi?” and 100% of the time no one puts their hands up.

busThis demonstrates what a massive waste of money the majority of these advertisements are.

Whilst I concede that “big businesses” can afford the “brand-building benefits” from such advertising, if you’re the owner of a small to medium size business, it’s highly unlikely you are going to get a measurable “return on investment” from such crazy advertising.
How about billboards on the side of freeways?

I have the same opinion of advertisements on the those billboards on freeways and main highways.

Whilst I see merit on McDonald’s hostess saying “Maccas just 5 minutes ahead,“ I can’t see any logic on many of the other billboards I see when driving down the freeway.

Again, I ask “When was the last time your purchase decision was influenced by an outdoor billboard on the freeway?”

Other than fast food restaurant and hotels who may highlight the number of kilometres or minutes to their business, I haven’t yet found any business that’s able to prove to me that their billboard advertising has resulted in a measurable “return on investment.”

Same goes for most of the advertisement that are featured at bus shelters, railway stations and the sides of council garbage bins.

And don’t start me on the “aerial banners” towed behind airplanes when they fly above big events!

One of my clients, a mechanical workshop, wasted thousands upon thousands of dollars on such aerial signage when there were big events in his country town.

He had been doing this for years until he became a member of one of my coaching programs.

I asked him “What measurable results have you got from that signage that validates continuing to make such a large investment?”

Needless to say, he shook his head from side to side and said “None.”

Worst still, instead of the aerial signage at the very least, having “an offer,” his sign simply featured the name of his business!

sky-writing aerial-signage

If you’re a small to medium size business, direct-response advertising is the way to go!

Unless you have the massive marketing budget that the likes of McDonald’s, Coke, Microsoft or Colgate has, you shouldn’t be “risking” your valuable dollars to non-measurable advertising.

And for the most part, outdoor billboards and bus/taxi advertising are advertising mediums that don’t provide sufficient opportunity for direct-response tactics.

Of course, one may argue that an advertisement on the side of the bus or at the back of the taxi tend to have a “direct-response offer” and I suppose it can (eg: see Michael Buble in concert at the Sydney Events Stadium, Thursday, 17 November – for $95 – book now at

In cases like this, where there is a specific URL or phone number so that one can track the taxi advertising results, there maybe a place for it.

But for most of us small to medium size business owners, a bus or taxi travelling at 80kph, the opportunity to benefit from a “direct-response” advertisement is pretty minimal.

Nonetheless, as I said from the outset of this blog, I see gazillions of dollars being wasted on such marketing channels of both small to medium size businesses.

Those same businesses seems to also be attracted to the rotational “electronic advertising signs” at sporting events – and again, I challenge you to remember one single ad you’ve seen on the sideline of a major football game!

So do yourself a favour – when an opportunity for advertising on such billboard, taxi, footy game or buses comes up, politely say “thanks, but no thanks.”

Gael to see if she can find photographs of signage on the side of football games to include.