Life Is A Road Trip

The Amazing Adventures of a Zoobroker and a Sentiographer

Day 2 Musings: Advertising Across America

on the road, south dakotaMatt HillComment

Today's drive across South Dakota was flat, then not flat, then amazingly gorgeous (Badlands!). One thing that stuck out like a sore thumb was the constant (and sometimes hilarious) billboards for "Wall Drug". Wall is a small town at the end of the Badlands small loop that apparently sells EVERYTHING under the sun. And Wall, the town, is the home of Wall Drug.

We did not stop, but we were exposed to a Wall Drug billboard from the east side of South Dakota all the way to the west side. And even after leaving Wall, there one more billboard reminding you you had one more chance to visit Wall Drug!

Anyhoo, it got me to thinking. Thinking about how they had small, carefully crafted billboards with one topic on them. Kinda like Google AdWords. No joke. They were the visual equivalent of spam. Constant interruption from the flowing flatlands of South Dakota. But, like much interruptive advertising, there was one or two billboards that spoke to me. Not enough to make me want to stop after ALL THAT WAITING to see what Wall Drug was about. DInner and beer won. No tchotchkes could stop the mouth-watering I wanna beer feeling. Too bad.

But it did raise the question. Actually, Zoo asked me how many people stop because of it. I said that was the wrong question. The right question is how many more people stop than if there was no advertising? Zoo said that's what he meant. I said that's not what you said, though... He acquiesced, so I win. The point being that we guess that they get 10x more visitors simply by awareness of their business. But 1-5 impressions is not enough. I am guessing, but there are probably over 80 billboards in the state for Wall Drug. Wuh... Hurts me, left me laughing and thinking. They win. Except I did not buy anything - I am just telling other people about it ;)

Gotta go make the time-lapse movie of our trip today. See you in a bar, or the comments section here on the site posts.

-- SpamZalot