Recycle a blog post day: most brilliant outdoor campaign ever!

According to my friend Gavin, today is Recycle a Blog Post Day so I thought I'd share with you one of my all-time favorites.  I promise you….you will be talking about this!

The rules for outdoor advertising are very simple.

  • Never use more than 7 words
  • Always use an attention getting visual
  • Include the company logo
  • Leave the boards up for a minimum of 30 days to achieve frequency goals
  • Buy several locations to increase reach

The most brilliant outdoor campaign broke every one of these rules.  Every single one.  I use this campaign as an example in many of my presentations and wanted to share it with you too.

Let me tell you the story. 

This campaign broke in 1989 in Buffalo, New York.  There was (and still is – my mistake, I found it on the web's yellow pages and assumed it was current) an Irish Pub called Garcia's in downtown Buffalo that needed to drive not only name awareness but traffic.  Their agency, Crowley Webb, devised this campaign, which not only won them a National Obie (Oscars for outdoor boards) but made Garcia's a household name in Buffalo.  The campaign also showed up in the New York Times, USA Today and naturally, all of Buffalo's local media.

No ordinary billboard series, eh?

The agency bought a single board location (this I am recalling from memory so I may be wrong) and every Monday for 9 weeks….a new board went up.  This is story-telling at it's best.  Enjoy the campaign and be sure to catch my questions at the end.










Can't you see all of Buffalo being completely caught up in this story?  Can you imagine how many people showed up at Garcia's on Fridays to see if Angel made an appearance.  I don't know if the agency took it to that level (I wouldn't be surprised) but I would have hired actors to play William, Angel, Candi and Frankie and put on a floor show.

What do you think of this campaign?  Notice the boards didn't push the daily soup special or promise us the same cliches that all restaurants promise.  Instead, they invited us into a story.  A story where we could play a part.

How could you use this kind of a technique?  Or, where else have you seen this sort of creativity played out?

Update:  Here's the back story to this campaign.  Now I'm even more impressed.

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12 comments on “Recycle a blog post day: most brilliant outdoor campaign ever!

  1. WOW… pure brilliance! Almost makes me jealous 😉

  2. Gavin Heaton says:

    Oh, and this is such a perfect post for recycling. Who says we need new posts when there is so much gold in the vault?

  3. Now that’s storytelling! (And a blog post that’s worthy of recycling!)

  4. Justin Bartz says:

    This is ingenious. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Anthony Mora says:

    What a great story. People often forget that you don’t always grab the public’s attention by stating the obvious or simply giving information. I’ve worked as a journalist and PR consultant for many moons now, and that’s one of the hardest points to get across. People don’t react to being sold, what they do react to is a great story.

  6. Tracy says:

    Wow, those are awesome! I’m going to have to put Garcia’s up on my top board list with South of the Border in South Carolina and Casa de Fruita in California.

  7. I agree with all of this…as a writer, I would have been thrilled to be smart enough to concept this. And think of the fun they had, adding all the elements and legs to the campaign.

    This is what smart marketing is all about!


  8. James B says:

    Genius! Love it. A great illustration of the argument that in order to stand out you need to be remarkable.

    A bit of intrigue, a story that unfolds, reinforcement across different media, audience participation, it’s got the lot.

    (To those that have got this far, the back-story is worth a look)

  9. James,

    I couldn’t agree more. I find the whole thing fascinating and brilliant.

    It’s a reminder of how good we can be at marketing, if we really push the boundaries and know when to break the rules.


  10. James (auto insurance),

    “People don’t react to being sold, they do react to a great story.”



  11. watchmovie says:

    Excellent outdoor compaign ever seen by me.

  12. karrie says:

    very good to attract locals who will frequently pass the same sign over and over again

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