Blog advertising is like outdoor advertising on vehicles?

This blog is about reflections of life through lessons/parallels learnt from the highway (or the road).

And I just had this reflection recently about outdoor advertising on vehicles and how it has some similarities to blog advertising.


Companies place out ads on cars or vans like this because it’s an outdoor advertising media that gets you lots of exposure, for a relatively low price compared to say TV commercials or newspaper ads. However, the impressions or eyeballs are hard to be measured as compared to other form of advertising but as long as the vehicle’s moving about, you get quite a lot of eyeballs.

Most times, these ads are placed on vehicles like vans and lorries owned by the company themselves. Since you have the vehicles anyways, why not use them? (So what I’m talking about here is slightly different from say outdoor ads placed on taxis or buses, though some of the similarities still apply)

(Man showing the middle finger to other road users – censored) 

Therein lies the problem with outdoor vehicle ads in my opinion. What happens when your ad is placed on a car or van which has an obnoxious rude driver? And we see these drivers all the time don’t we? Even on vehicles plastered all over with brands of established and respected brands, these drivers can leave a bad taste in the mouths of motorists they come in contact with.

So, where’s the parallel with blog advertising?

Without referring to specific examples which will offend whichever blogger that I refer to, imagine a respected brand advertising on a blog that is well-read, but say, full of vulgarities?

Quite a few of Singapore’s top bloggers are well-read because of the honest opinions they bring, which brings with them lots of controversy of course – social-political, vulgarities, shocking sex stories, and so on.

I first noted this issue while talking to the marketing folks at a fairly large bank about working with bloggers. The frowns and hesitance I spotted on their faces became clear towards the end of the meeting when they told me honestly they are scared of working with bloggers.

And understandably so. Imagine bloggers placing out your ads next to a post that is littered with vulgarities, or talks about erectile dysfunction.

Or worse still, imagine the blogger writing an advertorial about how good your bank and financial products are, only to slam your bank’s chairman (usually a senior politician in Singapore’s context) for some political decisions in the next blog post!

Do you see the parallel I’m trying to draw here? I’m not trained in marketing or PR, and although there’s a market speak that ‘bad publicity is better than no publicity’, surely brand and marketing managers would want to think of better ways to spend their money that doesn’t come with so much ‘risk’ to the brand?

If you scan through the blogosphere, there’s not many blogs that companies can seriously work with – without any worry or concern that these bloggers might drag the brand into the mud, a concern shared by this local bank that I spoke to which seems to be valid.

Similarly, drivers on vehicles with outdoor car ads, especially company vehicles, can actually have fellow motorists cussing at the brand if he/she was an abrasive road user.

Of course, as seen from the local blog ads placed out by brands so far, many just don’t seem to think twice about this; just as they don’t seem to care about the road behaviour of the drivers which they place out their outdoor car ads on.

For those more interested to find out about blog advertising, Bernard Leong just wrote an interesting piece that gives you a pretty good overview of the blog advertising scene in Singapore and Malaysia. For me, I hope this aspect can be taken into more serious consideration when improving the burgeoning local blog advertising scene.

And have a great week ahead, my co-sojourner!


Filed under Life, Must read!, Notes to You, Personal, Stories, Technology, Thoughts, Work, Writing

6 responses to “Blog advertising is like outdoor advertising on vehicles?

  1. BL

    Hi Nick,

    Nice article and thanks for the thumbs up.
    Your article raises some key points which I did not manage to talk about:

    1. Matching the ads for both the bloggers and advertisers: I once commented to some bloggers that the online advertising in Singapore uses a shotgun approach, i.e. they target the blogger with the highest number of eyeballs and most controversy. The approach is good on the short term, because the clients would be happy with so much eyeballs. However, if the blogger creates a controversy and public anger kicks in, the brand also suffers in the process.

    2. Unlike the US, Singapore advertisers don’t really harnass the specialist bloggers well enough. Maybe we don’t have much specialist bloggers to start off with.

    Hey Bernard, I like your comment on the ‘shotgun approach’. And someone did comment to me that while ‘bad publicity is better than no publicity’, it’s not necessary true in our local context. And yes, I agree we don’t have enough specialist bloggers. For example, how many sports bloggers do we have compared to say Australia? I haven’t really found any here – maybe I didn’t search hard enough.

  2. I do see the parallel comparisons of blog advertising to that of the outdoor automobile advertising. But as you see, with rude drivers that zoomed past you, one usually does not have the capability to register the shock of rude behaviour and correlate with the brand name within that few seconds to leave a lasting enough impression; with blog advertising, the impact of rudeness and the unfortunate accompanying brand name can be refreshed and registered in the mind over and over again if one really want to pursue….

    Hi stella, that’s quite true, thanks for dropping by with the interesting additional viewpoint 🙂

  3. Nice article , thanks for sharing it , please keep up this great work

    Hi there, thanks for popping by 🙂

  4. Peter

    Hi Nick,

    It’s a great advertising method..
    I do saw a few car with advertisement, but don’t the owners know they wrap it themselves or companties paid them to do so..
    So do you know any agency or company doing such thing for others companies advertisement ?


  5. Pingback: 2010 in review | Highway of Life

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