While most digital platforms still prohibit marijuana ads, billboards and other outdoor ad formats have embraced the growing cannabis industry. The high impact, low cost and relaxed regulatory environment mean billboards will continue to be a top advertising option for marijuana-related businesses well into the future. Most billboard companies have no problem allowing you to advertise, though some do place limitations on what can be shown in the actual ad and where the ads can be placed (and some state and municipal regulations put additional restrictions on advertising).
At BillboardsIn, one out of every 50 requests we receive is from a marijuana-related business. We’ve been able to place every single one that has come through our platform, though sometimes revisions are necessary. This post breaks down some general design rules and tips to keep in mind when designing your marijuana ad to ensure that it goes up without a hitch.
BE AWARE OF LOCAL REGULATIONS
Advertising laws can vary from state to state. What’s okay in one state, may not be okay in another. Generally, these are things like how far you have to be away from a school.
In some places, your permit or license number is required to be displayed on your ad. Some states say marijuana billboards can only be put in places where a certain percentage of the audience is over 21.
TRY NOT TO OFFEND
Billboard vendors want to make money, which means they want to display your ad. However, they also want to be careful because cannabis is still a touchy subject for many people. This means it’s in your best interest to try to make your ad as inoffensive as possible.
We’ve found that there are some very basic things you can do to make your ad less likely to offend. For example: don’t show people smoking; don’t show a pot leaf unless it’s part of your logo; use the word “cannabis” instead of “marijuana.”
While these may seem nitpicky, making these small changes increases the chances that your design will be approved and they can potentially save you the time and money of having to redesign your ad later.
There are three essential rules you should keep in mind when designing your ‘board if you want your ad to be effective.
- KEEP IT SHORT: The average read time for a billboard is 2-5 seconds. Keep your message short. Eight words max.
- SELL YOUR BRAND: What’s your differentiator? Speed? Price? Selection? Let the people know what sets you apart from everyone else. That should be the crux of your ad’s design and message.
- INCLUDE A CALL TO ACTION: What do you want your customers to do after seeing the ad? If it’s to visit your website, you better include the URL on the billboard. If it’s to visit your shop, you better display your address. Make it easy for them to be able to do the thing you want them to do after seeing your ad.
Cody J. Riebe is a public relations and content specialist at BillboardsIn.