Marketing experts love to tout the power of digital marketing. It's true, you can reach thousands of targeted consumers fairly inexpensively with proper online or mobile marketing campaigns. However, it's tough to argue the benefits of a traditional advertising classic, the billboard.

The oversized signage has the advantage of a captive audience. There's not usually much to look at when you're bored, cruising down the highway at 80 mph. Plus, it's not like you can fast forward or change the channel when one shows up on the horizon. Anyone who has ever driven through South Dakota has witnessed the effectiveness of Wall Drug's insane number of billboards. Billboards remain big business too, with $6 billion dollars in revenue in 2019, according to industry research hub IBIS World.

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Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings
Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

Driving from Laurel to Billings this morning, I immediately noticed the bright red billboard just after I hit the eastbound I-90 ramp by the truck stop. It's tough to miss. Giant white letters spell out the word LOVE. That's it. There is no slogan, tagline, hashtag or website. It doesn't promote an adult bookstore or an abortion message. It's not a diet company or some clever advertising agency gimmick. Just LOVE.

A quick online search led to where the mission statement of the idea states,

Underneath all of the conditioning, consumerism, stress and fear, we believe everyone is whole and complete. It is our mission to support the planet in remembering who they really are. 

The person behind the idea is a Spokane man named John Pogachar, who thought,

Wouldn't it be amazing to buy a billboard without it needing to sell or promote anything except for love?

What started as just a handful of regional LOVE billboards in Washington state has now spread to over 119 signs (and counting) in over 12 states, Canada and New Zealand. You can learn more about the movement from this short film.

I was unable to determine the person(s) or business that funded the new LOVE billboard on the frontage road between Laurel and Billings. The impossible-to-miss sign is literally right next to a dispensary. The cordial employee I spoke with confirmed with a store manager that they are not a sponsor.

Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings
Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

The backdrop will surely provide a great background for #love #selfies #valentinesday. Here's mine, all confused-looking and squinty-in-the-sun.

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