Electronic billboard

This week I saw one of those electronic billboards. Unlike traditional billboards, the electronic ones can show lots of different messages.

Which means that the same space can be multiplexed — used at different times by different advertisers, each with a targeted message.

Of course the people who put these things up need to make sure that there are enough advertisers to fill all 24 hours a day. Which means they need to convince advertisers to use their billboard.

This week, looking at an electronic billboard, I realized I was watching exactly that — an ad targeted at the advertisers themselves. But what caught my eye was how delightful the ad was.

The ad copy referred obliquely to the cultural trope of the young man who uses a billboard to convince his estranged girlfriend to come back to him. This ad riffed on that trope, in a very clever way.

It said, in big bold letters: “You can’t win her back, but you can be on a billboard.”

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