Published in the April 2012 issue

"The media is just so fragmented today that newspaper and radio ads don’t reach as big an audience as they used to,” says Andy Malis of marketing agency MGH. “That’s one reason we love outdoor: It’s kind of hard to ignore.” To get the most out of your billboards, he suggests placing them near competitors’ locations and changing images monthly (especially if they’re funny, since jokes get old). Also consider using mobile billboards, and shy away from spending money on co-op where your name will be tagged on to a designer’s brand. Most important: “You need something that is gonna get people to talk.” Here are a few that do that nicely.


Kas A Designs, Jefferson City, MO
In her town , Kas Jacquot is “the billboard lady,” known for whimsical campaigns featuring herself. Early on, her billboards just showed jewelry. “But I’d seen Harold Tivol’s billboards [for Tivol, in Kansas City] with his picture on them, and I’d just gotten new business pictures taken.” A local star was born. Among her most eye-catching efforts: a shot of Jacquot from behind, naked from the waist up, except for her jewelry. One traveler reported nearly falling off his motorcycle when he saw “Kas Is Back!”


Christopher’s Fine Jewelry, Pawley’s Island, SC
Chris Cervini, assisted by Mike Buley of Jewelry Ads That Work, started his billboard program in earnest six years ago. “We use really snappy catchphrases that appeal to emotions or people, rather than just fashion models with an ad slick,” Cervini says. It’s been a huge success. “In my 40,000-person community, I cannot go out to lunch or dinner or the grocery store without someone coming up to me and telling me how genius our billboards are.”


Rogers Jewelry Co., CA and NV
Less really is more . The simple, elegant “Think Rogers” campaign, devised by the Bauserman Group of Reno, NV, combines short, powerful phrases, a minimal color scheme, and some cleverly placed jewels. The result is a memorable, unmistakable message — that’s deeply effective. Rogers reported a huge increase in sales after the campaign launched in 2010.


Anfesa’s Jewelers, Garner, NC
“ I'm real big about surprises,” says Anfesa Matthews. So when a college student asked for help proposing to his girlfriend — he couldn’t afford a spot on the JumboTron, as some friends had — Matthews suggested they put up a billboard: an image of the ring and “Heather, will you marry me?” It got a huge response, and customers kept asking what Heather’s answer was. So a month later, the store replaced the first billboard with a sequel.


Smyth Jewelers, MD
“It's probably the most famous thing we’ve done locally,” says Andy Malis of this billboard, featuring one Baltimore legend — Mr. Boh, mascot for National Bohemian beer — proposing to another — the Utz Girl, of potato chip fame. Natty Boh gave the OK for Smyth to use their guy, and Utz was already a client. “It’s about four years old, and it’s still up,” Malis says.


James Free Jewelers, Da yton, OH
Three years ago, James Free Jewelers bought some neighboring properties, tore buildings down, and built a new store. The new space offered almost three times the parking: more than 40 spots, compared with the previous mere 14 for both customers and employees. “It hit home more with existing customers,” says marketing director David Tellman of the billboard MGH created. “The ones who knew about our parking issues thought it was great.” 




Two-Time Winner

When it was time to close its doors, Cranstoun Court Jewellers of Sun City, Arizona chose Wilkerson to handle its liquidation sale. For all involved, the sale “far exceeded expectations.” But it wasn’t the first time Wilkerson helped sell off the store’s aging merchandise. They were there 13 years before, when ownership changed hands. See how Wilkerson can help you when it’s time to liquidate or sell off aging inventory.


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