BlogBlog 17MultimediaVideo 17

Thinking Advertising: Billboards in Ghana

After spending a significant portion of our first week in Accra touring the city by bus- I have become familiar with the print and billboard advertising strategies of the city. My initial reaction is that there is plenty of repetition of the physical ads across the city. I noticed that the billboards are frequent along the road, and loom at more of an eye level than American billboards. My understanding is- if the driver doesn’t have a chance to glance up at the ad and take in its message at one point along their commute, then there will be another copy of it along their drive or walk for them to notice. In certain instances, there are multiple posters of the same ad lined up immediately next to each other, pasted on the walls that line the streets. This strategy is effective for allowing travelers to absorb the entire message, as they are moving with the flow of traffic.

As you drive, you look at the repetition of the ad to continue reading it, if you were unable to absorb it at an immediate glance. Each repeating ad gives you an additional moment to receive the advertiser’s message. These strategies of print advertising are effective because of the large flow and rate of automobile and foot travel on roadways- as well as the many passenger carrying vehicles that fill the roads. The effectiveness of this is hard to gauge but its reach is vast, as people are not required to do anything but read/look at the ad. The simplicity of the design goes hand in hand with this. While there are familiar Western styles (such as Hennessey ads), there are also local products advertised with basic color pallets and simple copy that uses three or less lines of copy to get across their message. Primarily, the ads promoting local products such as ‘Gino’ tomato sauce and ‘Geisha’ soap resemble these qualities. Nearly all ads have people in them, giving them a relatable and human quality. In this, print ads in Accra are made into digestible bites and are easily consumable on a day-to-day basis.