Outdoor Billboards Making a Comeback

| January 23, 2023

It takes a lot to capture a driver’s attention as they are speeding down the highway, but when a larger-than-life sign tells onlookers “Don’t Drive Hungry. Eat Beef.” people notice. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor of the Beef Checkoff, is always looking for new and exciting ways to educate today’s consumer about beef’s taste, nutrition and versatility. While outdoor advertising may not be a new method for sharing beef’s positive message, new technology is bringing billboards back to the marketing mix.

“We rely on consumer research and insights to help us determine the best advertising tools to promote beef, and in what markets,” said Martin Roth, NCBA’s executive director of digital media. “We also need to track results to be sure we are using Checkoff dollars effectively and efficiently.”

In the past, understanding the impact of outdoor advertising was cumbersome at best, with limited data available to measure success. With today’s traffic tracking technology, geo-location services and mobile data, gathering results is much more accurate. 

Traditional advertising like outdoor billboards, whether static (printed) or digital (electronic), target beef’s message in metropolitan markets across the country where consumers live, work and play. Extending the message to a wide audience also helps reach consumers who may not otherwise learn about beef.

Outdoor billboards made a return during the 2022 Summer Grilling campaign, promoting the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand in Cleveland, Dallas, Nashville, Phoenix, and St. Louis. Twenty-four billboards, which featured pictures of tasty beef and catchy taglines, caught the attention of drivers along busy thoroughfares in these markets and generated nearly 38 million impressions.

Beef was also the focus of 15 billboards along major highways in Kansas City, Minneapolis, Orlando and San Francisco this past holiday season reminding consumers that beef is “The Gift of Flavor.” With state beef council support an additional billboard was installed in Indianapolis and six more boards were posted in Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. The billboards generated nearly 10 million impressions, with an additional 6.2 million impressions in Indiana and Tennessee. 

“We are receiving positive feedback from state beef councils and from producers who are seeing the billboards along major highways in their states,” said Cullan McNamara, associate director of marketing at NCBA. “It is exciting to see these outdoor billboards performing so well, giving us one more tool to reach consumers.”

Outdoor advertising will continue in 2023, reaching even more markets from coast to coast. Look for Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. billboards popping up in a city near you promoting beef throughout the year.